Winter storm

The ever-changing forecast for this weekend’s exciting weather appears to be dependent on one factor - the temperature.

According to Woodward County Emergency Manager Matt Lehenbauer, the forecast could change drastically as the weekend approaches but as of Wednesday morning it appears there is a one in four chance of freezing rain Friday morning to about noon for Northwest Oklahoma.

“At noon, the chances go up to about 50/50 the rest of the day for freezing rain,” Lehenbauer said. “Probably about sunset we should see it transition over to snow. We could see mixed sleet/freezing rain throughout the day on Friday.”

Looks like Saturday will feature significant snowfall, according to Lehenbauer. However, everything depends on the temperatures.

“Right now the question mark is on the temperature, cause the high temperature on Friday is going to hit just below freezing ,” Lehenbauer said. “If it’s a degree higher or lower, it can really change what happens.”

Lehenbauer predicts that if the area does receive ice, it may be between .01 inches and .25 inches. Snow chances range from one to five inches.

“That’s our best guess right now and, I like I said, that could really change,” Lehenbauer stressed. “It depends on what the temperature does on Friday as to how it will affect us.”

Lehenbauer went to explain just how big of a difference a few degrees can make.

“We’re also looking at temperatures up above us because if it’s warmer up high, which that’s what we think, - there’s going to be some low level warm layers, that are above freezing, that will move in and melt any frozen precipitation before it hits the ground,” Lehenbauer said. “If that gets just below freezing, up above us, it will all be snow when it comes down. A degree or two drop could make all the difference in the world or if it’s a degree or two warmer, it’ll just be rain.”

The emergency manager encourages those with travel plans this weekend to watch the forecast very carefully and use caution when driving.

“If we have travel issues it’s going to be probably late Friday and then through the day Saturday,” Lehenbauer said. “Even if we get snow there will be that ice underneath the snow most likely. So be prepared to change travel plans on Saturday through Sunday afternoon.”

It’s important to remember that weather predictions are just that; A prediction, especially in Oklahoma.

“This type of situation, it could change right up to the moment it starts falling,” Lehenbauer said. “We’re not 100 percent.”

The potential for winter weather in the state has caused most events scheduled for Saturday to be canceled or rescheduled.

Several basketball tournaments moved their start to Wednesday in order to be finished on Friday.

Also, Woodward High School’s basketball games at Altus were moved up a day to Thursday.

State football championship games were also moved to Thursday.

Note: Northern and western Oklahoma are under a winter storm watch at least through Saturday.