Tonight will remain cloudy with breezy northwest winds pushing steadily colder air across the Ozarks. By sunrise, temperatures will be in the mid 20s in Springfield. Temperatures will still be a little above freezing in a line from Fayetteville to Eminence, but should drop below freezing by noon in these areas as well. This will set the stage for wintry weather to impact all of the Ozarks starting late morning Thursday.
Freezing rain and sleet will build northeast across the area south of I-44 during the morning Thursday.
By afternoon, this area of sleet will build north of I-44 to near Hwy. 54. Colder air will gradually cause all of the sleet to change to snow to south of I-44 by late afternoon.
Areas from Branson east to Salem and south will see the freezing rain gradually turn over to sleet by Thursday evening and then to all snow Thursday night. This first round of precipitation should taper off Thursday evening with the next round building in late Thursday night and lasting into early Friday afternoon.
The second round or precipitation should be primarily snow, and this will likely be when the greater accumulations occur. Totals will range from 1 to 2" north to 2 to 4" along I-44.
Areas further south will see a light glaze of freezing rain followed by a 3 to 6" combination of sleet and snow. Harrison to West Plains and south will see the greatest amount of freezing rain with a quarter to a half an inch of ice possible. This could lead to spotty outages, but the worst of the ice should occur just south of the viewing area across central areas of Arkansas.
Bitter cold will accompany the winter precipitation. Temperatures will remain in the 20s Thursday with wind chills in the teens. Temperatures will drop into the upper teens by Friday morning with wind chills dropping into the single digits. Highs on Friday will only be in the low to mid 20s. Lows in the single digits can be expected Saturday morning.
Another round of light snow is likely Saturday night into Sunday, and an additional 1 to 3" looks possible. Another major blast of cold will follow for early next week keeping the area locked in the deep freeze. Temperatures will likely remain below freezing until at least Friday of next week.
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