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  • Writer's pictureTodd Yakoubian

It's something most of us have to go through, but we're never prepared for when it does happen.

A little more than a month ago, my mom was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. She passed away Friday, February 17th peacefully and in no pain surrounded by family.

"In sickness and in heath". My mom defined this vow we sometimes forget about. My dad had a heart attack and stroke within 2 weeks in December 1993. It left him in a wheel chair until he died in 2002. She cared for him for 9 years. No one else! It was all her! Before I asked my wife to marry me in late 2002, I asked myself if I would do the same for her and she for me. The answer was obviously, yes. The life she led was a shining example of the perfect mom, wife, and friend to so many she touched.

When I was 6 years old, I told my parents I wanted to be a meteorologist. They did everything they could to encourage me. It included tours of the National Weather Service Office in NLR, tours of TV stations, and buying several home weather observation stations.

Some of you may remember a promotion on Channel 7 many years ago about this weather blog. She LOVED doing that promo! I'll post it below.

Many years ago, when I filled in on Daybreak, my mom would always wake up at 6:30 and turn on the TV as she got ready for work. Chris Kane and Alyson Courtney would toss to me and I would always start that quick weather with "good morning, mom". When I filled in for Barry on the 10PM newscast, after the newscast, I would give her a call to check in on her and say goodnight. Those are the things I'm really going to miss as I go back to work.

Life moves on and I'll be back at the station soon. Thank you to all who have reached out over the past few weeks. Also, thanks to Barry, Melinda, and James. They didn't hesitate to jump in and cover for me when I had to abruptly leave the station.

Please always remember "Momma Yak"

Bettye Yakoubian Obit

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Yes, the historic cold and snow caused a lot of problems, but as I look back at it, I'll always remember the good time I had with my family. We just walked around the neighborhood in amazement and stayed out late one night sledding down a fantastic hill. 40 + year old men were acting like 10 year olds in the snow. Yes, me included. I grabbed my old snow skies out of the attic to give it a try down the neighborhood roads. Now I appreciate ski resort lifts! Going inside together and drinking hot chocolate watching the big flakes of snow continue to pile up will top my memory despite those rolling blackouts.

We will tell your kids and grandkids about what happened this week 2 year ago. The stories and tales will grow larger and larger, but that's only because they were true. What a week!

I remember seeing the threat for bitterly cold arctic air on the modeling 1-2 weeks prior to its arrival, but the more reliable European model kept backing off on it and delaying it. There were even a few runs which never showed it making it into Arkansas. Honestly, I was baffled. The GFS was insistent on most of its runs nothing was going to stop the cold air. It made sense given the magnitude of what was building over the arctic. However, the GFS has a terrible cold bias in the long range. Was it going to hit forecast gold this time? We all know the answer.

Meteorologist James Bryant, Barry Brandt, Melinda Mayo and I discussed it several times a day. I even reached out to WeatherBell meteorologist Joe Bastardi. James and I ended up having a conference call with him several days prior to the big event. He confirmed my suspicions about the Euro. The Euro kept lifting the cold air over the Rocky mountains causing a feedback error. It was shoving too much cold over the continental divide instead of where it usually goes, SOUTH! Joe always is brilliant with pattern recognition and used 1899 as an analog. This has happened in the past! More than a week away, he (Joe) issued ominous warnings about Texas and the power supply. He was right.

Once the cold arrived, I set up my snow machine in my backyard and cranked out several inches of snow before mother nature could make her own. Pictures are below in the gallery. Days later, my wife insisted NEVER again after we had to shovel that and the snow from two historic storms.

On Valentine's day, I watched the models spit out almost 27'' of snow for central Arkansas. I looked at my wife and just laughed in disbelief. I told her it would be history making if the NAM was correct. It ended up not being far off.

Honestly, there were so many records broken, so much to cover at the station, traveling back-and-forth to work that the week was a blur. It was tough to sit down and appreciate what unfolded and soak in the history.

I remember the fire alarms going off inside the station during Good Afternoon Arkansas, but there was no fire. Turned out a large pipe burst flooding a portion of the building. I walked out onto 4th street to rivers of water winding its way between massive piles of snow.

Both of those storms were classic heavy hitting snows in Arkansas. What made this very unique was the back-to-back nature of the storms with the extreme cold. I don't think we'll ever see anything like that again in our lifetime, BUT this is Arkansas.

ALWAYS, thanks for trusting the Channel 7 weather team.

Let's watch the last week of this month. The ridge is going up into Alaska and that will should send it south.

At the same time, the southeast ridge will bring resistance to the cold. That means an active storm track likely right over our region. I'm not saying snow/ice is guaranteed, but the Alaskan ridge development is screaming, WINTER IS NOT OVER!

Birdseye view of the northern hemisphere February 24th. There's the ridge going up over Alaska. That will push cold air south and east. See the yellows and oranges over the southeast? That cold air will meet resistance with a strong temperature gradient likely with an active storm track. Impossible to know at this time where exactly this sets up.

5 day precipitation anomalies ending Friday, February 24th. The greens indicate above average precipitation. That's the cold air clashing with the warmer air to the southeast. In other words, very active pattern likely to continue through the end of the month and possibly more active last week of the month


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