Rain, Snow, Ice, Cold, Lions, Tigers, Bears
This is looking like a very typical winter storm for Arkansas starting late Wednesday and lasting into Thursday. Also, like every winter weather event, they cause issues. While I write this on Saturday morning, I want to remind you things change so keep checking back.
How could things change? If you have been a reader of the Arkansas Weather Blog over the past 17 years, you know what I say about arctic air. It's usually colder and ends up further south than the models predict. Keep that in mind.
The cold air will get held up by the Ozarks briefly, then come roaring down on a northeasterly wind as moisture overruns a very shallow layer of cold air.
Here we go...
REMEMBER, MODELS ARE NOT FORECASTS! THINGS CHANGE. The two main computer models, GFS and EURO do show agreement late Wednesday into Thursday. That does not mean this is a slam dunk forecast.
8AM Wednesday, temperatures are beginning to fall over northern Arkansas with rain showers for most.
By late Wednesday, it's still raining, but the cold shallow arctic air is changing the rain over to a wintry mix north. Look at the wild temperature contrast. 20s northwest to 60s far south.
By early Thursday morning, the cold air has worked through the state with the worst oof this over northern, central, and eastern Arkansas with freezing rain and sleet. The cold air is deep enough for snow northwest and north central.
This is the area most likely to have sleet and freezing rain. How much? It's impossible to know at this point. It will be determined by the duration of the precipitation and how fast readings drop to 32° or colder. THIS WILL CHANGE.
Snow? Yes, there could be a few inches IF the cold air becomes deep enough over the northern mountains. This also assumes moisture lingers. Again, this is going to be adjusted.
Cold and wind will be another big issue late next week. Why does the model take those wind chills down to -14 northwest? It assumes snow and ice on the ground making the surface temperature very cold. It does not take much wind to take down those wind chills.
Summary, a winter storm is POSSIBLE late Wednesday into Thursday. The exact track of the area of low pressure, the strength of the cold air, and the depth of it will determine who gets what precip type. What you see above will NOT verify 100%. Don't forget, the cold following the weather event will be a big weather story too.
Stay with KATV Channel 7, the team with the most experience.