Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A LITTLE Ice Can Cause BIG Problems

3 PM Tuesday Update... All of us have heard of "storm chasers", but did you know there are "snow chasers"?  Yep!  and we have one who contributes to our blog all the time.  He's "Snowbirdbob" and last weekend he chased all the way to Boone, North Carolina.  Enjoy the pictures and we're glad you're back and ok Bob!  By the way, we have well exceeded 100,000 blog hits since July!




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First of all, thanks everyone for coming to the Arkansas Weather Blog.  Today we will hit a milestone... 100,000 hits since our re-launch in late July of this year.  That means, we are on pace to a quarter million hits in one year.  

Now onto why you came here...  Cold air is trapped at the surface and moisture should begin to override that cold dome late today and tonight.  I have seen this many times in Arkansas with retreating arctic air.  Here's what usually happens... the precipitation can start a bit sooner than the models forecast, the cold air stays much longer than the models forecast (highs could really bust Wednesday), and a little moisture can cause BIG problems.

I feel strongly the biggest threat to seeing LIGHT amounts of precipitation with readings below freezing for several hours will be north and east of Little Rock.  That cold air will be tough to dislodge Wednesday, but we should manage to head above freezing for central Arkansas, but it's going to be a gloomy looking day!

Remember, it only takes a very small amount of freezing rain/sleet to cause travel headaches and if you're traveling north, be careful.

Many of you remarked in the comment section about the BIG snowstorm in January of 1988.  I remember the storm well and have pictures.  I will post something about it soon.

Below are computer generated graphics showing the progression of the light frozen precipitation and rain Wednesday morning.

By midnight, some light rain in S. AR
Some LIGHT frozen precip. on the northern fringe by 3 AM.

Mostly rain central and south with light frozen precip. north by 6 AM
All rain by 9AM central and south with light frozen precip. north and northeast
Warm air winning across much of the state by noon Wednesday with the exception of far east and northeast AR

9 comments:

Jason H said...

Hopefully it will start well after the kids are in school up here, and melt off by the time they leave. It will be CLOSE.

jimmylee42 said...

Hope the glaze and black ice is not too widespread in the state. We all know that can be extremely dangerous, especially so early in the winter season.

Been looking at a town in Canada that is historically one of the coldest. The average high temperature in January for this site (Baker Lake)is 20 degrees F below zero. The average high in Dec is -14. Interesting that Accuweather is forecasting highs of around 30 degrees for 3 days in the middle of December. The all time high for Baker Lake in Dec is 30 F. I wonder what that might mean for us with that much oscillation of the air masses in the far north. Could it mean that some areas in the lower 48 get a Siberian Express type of cold wave like Dec 83, Jan 85, or even Jan 82 in Little Rock?

The Weather Fanatic said...

Todd:

Do you still have my pictures from the 88 snow? I'd love to see the Subaru again! LOL

Does anyone notice how dry it's been this month? We were afraid this may happen with a NW wind flow, and sure enough, we can't seem to get the timing right. The ground is cold now, so maybe someone will get surprised come tomorrow morning.

As a steal a line from Snowbird Bob: "We shall see"!

Eric said...

Hi lets hope we dont get any freezing rain in little rock area. ice is real dangerous and can be deadly. I hope it dont happen and at least not very good pops. I noticed a 20 percent chance of rain/snow fri nite. That does not sound promising for snow. I sure hope january will bring a surprise snow for the whole state . I know we will probally go snowless this year but we can always do snow dances and hope for the best.

Justin said...

Now THAT is a snow storm! Fantastic pics, Snowbirdbob! Thanks for sharing. The long range forecast is changing quite often. Maybe it will change in the favor of snow soon!

nlrweatherman said...

Funny how the nws serice has a low of 33 and its 30 degrees in nlr

WeatherNinja said...

For those of you wanting snow and rather disappointed that we are not getting any..remember that Jan/Feb are the snow months for Arkansas on average. December is not normally a snowy month. It's just nice to get it for the holidays.

nlrweatherman..it could be that temps may actually rise during the night and since the low projected is really for tomorrow morning (after midnight)it is possible that 33 will be the low although unless the cloud cover starts moving in soon, these clear skies might allow us to drop a bit further.

Jason H said...

It was ALL virga today. We had a few flurries flying around today in Northeast Arkansas.

Anonymous said...

NWS has taken out all precip for tonight. Are there differences in the models and they are playing it safe?? I was expecting the rain to form later tonight and fall as virga which should drop the temps closer to the dew point. Start as some sleet/freezing drizzle and the temps to slowly rise. (something interesting) If NWS is right, we won't see anything till after the temps have risen.