Welcome to this week’s OU Nightly Weekly Weather Recap!
It has been a warm and dry start to March across the Sooner State. Temperatures topped out in the 70s over the last few days, which is a nice start to meteorological Spring from the sub-freezing temperatures and sleet recorded last week.
Norman hit 79 degrees on Thursday, recording its warmest day of 2022 so far, according to NWS Norman. Winds also gusted up to 26 miles per hour on Thursday, which is fueling fire conditions across the state Friday into Saturday.
Avalanche Warning in Idaho
It was a busy week for portions of northern Idaho. An avalanche warning was issued for parts of the panhandle, where the Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center confirmed an avalanche took place Thursday at 12:33 MST in the Selkirk Mountains.
Fortunately, no injuries nor fatalities were reported in the avalanche. Residents in the area are advised to remain vigilant as wet snow and rain could trigger further activity in the coming days.
The Weekend Ahead
Temperatures will warm back up into the mid-70s on Friday, but clouds will continue to build in from the west. Southerly winds around 20 miles per hour can also be expected for Friday.
The NWS in Norman issued a Red Flag Warning for portions of central and western Oklahoma, north central Texas including the panhandle, southwestern Kansas, southeastern Colorado, and northeastern New Mexico from 10am to 8pm on Saturday. They warn, “Any fires that start will be difficult to contain.”
This fire weather warning will accompany “southwest winds gusting in excess of 45 miles per hour, humidity as low as 10%, and high temperatures in the upper 70s and lower 80s,” per NWS Norman.
The chance of showers and thunderstorms returns across eastern Oklahoma Saturday.
Portions of extreme southeastern Oklahoma are also gearing up for a possible severe weather event Sunday evening accompanying a cold front.
The Storm Prediction Center has portions of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, and Kentucky under a slight risk for severe weather, with the main threats being hail and damaging winds, although an isolated tornado cannot be ruled out.
Behind the cold front, temperatures will dip down into the 40s for the first part of next week, before sunshine returns and temperatures begin to climb back into the 50s and 60s.
Your National Forecast
A storm system will bring heavy snowfall to portions of the Pacific Northwest and higher elevations of the Rocky Mountains and Sierra Nevada Friday through Saturday.
The NWS in Billings, Montana issued a winter storm warning for portions of the state and Wyoming through noon on Saturday. The NWS warns that “Precipitation may start as light freezing drizzle before becoming all snow,” where accumulations could top 8 inches in some areas.
Drivers are encouraged to postpone all travel and conditions will become treacherous over the next 36 hours.
An icy mix will begin taking shape across portions of the Northern Plains, Minnesota, and Wisconsin on Friday into Saturday night.
The NWS in Aberdeen, South Dakota reports a winter storm will bring snow accumulations “less than 6 inches. Ice accumulations are possible, especially east of the James River in east central South Dakota.”
Thunderstorms will also fire in eastern Nebraska, Iowa, southern Minnesota, and Wisconsin on Saturday.
The NWS in Omaha reports “Strong to possibly severe storms will be possible Saturday afternoon… After the passage of the cold front, very strong wind gusts up to 50 mph are expected to develop.”
Critical fire conditions will likewise be present for portions of the Southwest United States Friday into Saturday. The NWS in Albuquerque issued a Red Flag Warning for portions of New Mexico on Friday and tweeted conditions that could contribute to fire weather.