By Merrick Eagleton
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Piling on layers of clothes, then adding a scarf, hat and gloves, has become the normal daily routine beore stepping out of the house each day, and Oklahoma hasn’t escaped the cold weather just yet.
Gary McManus, assistant state climatologist, says to prepare for a couple of severe cold fronts in the next week. These will include snow and other wintery precipitation, but that won’t be the worst of it.
“Really the main hazard will be extremely cold temperatures and wind,” McManus said.
Weather over the next several months is hard to predict. The frigid weather that already made its presence known in Oklahoma as early as Thanksgiving has set the stage for a continued cold weather pattern.
“During the type of winter we’re having now, I would expect a lot of variability with occasional bouts of snow and ice,” McManus said.
Even with predictions it is impossible to know what kind of weather we will be facing in the coming months. According to McManus, we don’t have the type of oceanic indices sometimes used to determine which way weather might go.
“That’s about as good as the science can do right now unfortunately,” McManus said.
Last month brought cold temperatures across the state. It was the 17th coldest December since 1895. That’s a stark contrast to December 2012, which was the warmest for Oklahoma.
“When you compare it to the very warm December we had last year then we really get a sense of the difference between last year and this year,” McManus said. “We’ve gone from pretty much one extreme to another extreme.”
Winter up to this point has only been one degree lower than normal, making it the 27th coldest winter on record so far.
Winter storms have brought much needed moisture to the southeastern part of the state. Eastern Oklahoma, including the Stillwater area, should not be experiencing any droughts this year.
“We won’t see any drought intensification,” McManus said.
“There’s nothing really pointing toward it.”