The January thaw our area has enjoyed is going out on a high note. We enjoyed highs in the upper 50s and low 60s with bright skies from start to finish. Chillier weather works in on Friday with a cold and snowy day on tap for Saturday.
Winter Storm Watches have been posted for Northern Arkansas for Saturday into Saturday night. Additional advisories are likely to trickle in through Friday.
The forecast through Friday looks pretty quiet. High clouds will increase overnight with a generally cloudy day Friday. Temperatures will be noticeably cooler on Friday, winds will become breezy out of the southeast, adding to the chillier feel to the air as we finish out the week.
Saturday’s storm will dive south through the middle of the country Friday night with rain building in from northwest to southeast. The rain will quickly transition to wet snow through sunrise Saturday with a quick period of sleet as the transition occurs.
The transition over to all snow will likely hold off until after sunrise over much of Northern Arkansas, but I do expect all of the area to have transitioned to snow by mid to late morning.
There may be periods of heavier snow, especially right after the transition. Heavier snow will remain possible south of the state line through Saturday afternoon.
The snow will come to an end from north to south down to about the state line by Saturday evening, but it will persist south of the state line through late Saturday evening.
Snow accumulations are expected across the area with a general 1 to 3″ north of the state line. A heavier stripe of snow, 3 to 6″, is expected across Northern Arkansas from Berryville and Jasper east. Locally higher amounts over 6″ are possible.
North of the state line there may be another area with more enhanced amounts, 3″ or more, across the higher terrain areas along Hwy. 60 east of Springfield. This would focus across Webster and Wright Counties into Texas County.
Snow accumulations may fight some headwinds with several negatives on the table. Temperatures will be marginal, the storm is moving through primarily during the day, and ground temperatures have warmed a bit this past week. Snowfall rates will be another factor with higher rates increasing the likelihood of accumulation and lighter rates allowing for the possibility of some melting.
This is a storm where there will likely be some travel impacts. Higher snowfall rates will reduce visibility and increase the likelihood of snow-covered roads. Where snow amounts are lighter and the rates are lighter, the snow may melt off the roads or have a tougher time accumulating altogether.
The snow will clear out of the area late Saturday night with clouds following suit in many areas by Sunday morning. Temperatures will tumble into the teens over the fresh snow cover.
The snow cover will likely mute how warm temperatures can get, but with mostly sunny skies temperatures will still manage to warm into the 30s Sunday.
Will be melting off snow and warming temperatures up through Monday and Tuesday. MLK Day will come with mostly sunny skies and highs in the 40s with sunshine and 50s on Tuesday.
Colder weather will work back into the pattern Wednesday with subfreezing highs possible Thursday. There are currently no signals for much if any rain or snow through next week.