Temperatures on the Fall

A very strong cold front for this early in the season will bring windy and much cooler conditions along with a chance of rain for tonight, Friday, and Saturday. The cold Canadian air behind this front will be the coldest Oklahoma has experienced in about 8 months. As a matter of fact, if the high temperature on Saturday does not exceed 55 degrees in Oklahoma City then a 121-year old record will be broken.

So, how unusual is this cold front? The averages can help us answer that question at least in part. At Will Rogers World Airport, the official weather station for OKC, the average low is 55 degrees and the average high is 77. This doesn't indicate what the temperature "should" be. It is simply an average. Another key number we look at is the record low for this time of year. The record low for OKC is 37 degrees for October 6th, which was set in 2001. So, the temperatures will be a lot closer to the records than they will the averages. Sunday and Monday mornings will be the coldest periods with this cool snap when temperatures are likely to fall into the mid 30s and approach record lows. Sunday morning will likely be the coldest with frost possible in some areas.

When we see cold fronts like this come in a little early, the first freeze question immediately comes to mind. If you look at the graphic on the right you will notice that the average first freeze for Oklahoma City is during the first week of November. However, northern parts of the state experience a temperature of 32 degrees or colder by mid to late October on average. Again, an important thing to remember with these averages is that they represent the middle ground between years where freezes occur earlier and later.

The bottom line is that this is a significant cold front given the time of year, and some record lows are likely to be broken. Okay, but what about the wind chill? This is where it gets a little tricky. The actual number your body will deal with on Friday night and Saturday, the wind chill that is, will be in the 30s in many locations thanks to the gusty northeast winds. Add a slight chance of a cold rain to that and you have yourself a recipe for some bone-chilling weather. Break out the hot chocolate, coffee, beef stew, and chili; and remember those 110+ degrees we suffered through back in early August!