Forecast calls for cold weekend, frigid New Year's Day

Roses adorn the seed sower statue on the South Oval on the University of Oklahoma campus Thursday in recognition of the Sooners’ Rose Bowl showdown with the Georgia Bulldogs at 4 p.m. Monday in Pasadena, California. While Norman could experience wind chills as low as minus 10 degrees Monday, Pasadena’s forecast calls for a low of 51 and a high of 75. 

Mack Burke / The Transcript 

NORMAN, Okla. — Anyone with plans to go out and about for New Years Eve has probably already heard the frigid forecasts.

For a little while this week, temperatures predicted for the beginning of 2018 in the Oklahoma City Metro area ranged from freakishly cold to downright dangerous. At one point, a prediction floated around mostly on social media suggested the high for New Year’s Day would be 6 degrees. That’s in Fahrenheit.

But as weather forecasts tend to do, there has been some fluctuating over the past few days. So just how cold will it be to start off 2018?

According to the latest from the National Weather Service, it’ll be less about how cold it is and more about how cold it feels. Forecast discussions on the NWS webpage suggest the model that showed the impossibly cold, single-digit high for New Year’s Day is a statistical outlier. 

Most models show highs in the upper 10s to middle 20s and lows in the single digits to near zero. So it’ll be cold, but not “start the new year off as an icicle” cold. Wind chills are a different story.

According to a forecast for Monday, the NWS predicts minimum wind chills in the morning to dip significantly below zero. So it may be in the single-digits, but Oklahomans will feel like they’re walking out into the Arctic.

NWS has the Norman area with wind chills anywhere between minus 5 and minus 10 degrees Monday morning. Locations near the Oklahoma-Kansas border could see a wind chill as low as minus 15 degrees.

The cold air is expected to move in overnight Friday and into Saturday morning, though Thursday’s discussion suggests it may initially lag behind a cold front supposed to move in around that time. Currently, the high for Saturday is 24 degrees and the high predicted for Sunday is 23.

Snow and freezing drizzle may occur in spurts for the next few days, as well. Accumulations are not expected to be significant — take care on elevated surfaces and driving on bridges — and it’ll all clear out by Monday, according to the current NWS forecast.

But the big story will remain the cold temperatures.

Predictions currently don’t show temperatures flirting with Norman’s record low of 0 degrees for January 1, set in 1970 according to Intellicast, but it certainly could feel like it.

It’ll likely have residents dreaming of better times, like in 1952 when the record high temperature for New Year’s Day was set at 78 degrees.

Troxtell writes for The Norman Transcript, a CNHI News Service publication.


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