7:20 AM Saturday Update... I will have a full update later today, but here are my thoughts this morning.
We still don't know the exact track of the surface low and the GFS has trended a little south over the past couple runs. I still think this is a cold rain for us, but northern Arkansas will have to watch out for wintry conditions Tuesday. Other models take the surface low much further to the north, but I'm not sure if I buy into that YET! Arctic air has a habit of making it further south and stronger than forecast.
The GFS is forecasting highs in the 30s and lows in the 20s by the middle to end of next week. I will more than likely have to take our high temperatures down in our 7 day forecast. The Tuesday storm will lay down a fresh snow pack to our north. With arctic air traveling across those fields of white, it will add an extra chill to the air. Again, I will have a very in depth update here later today, but make sure you get outside and enjoy the weather!
2:30 PM Friday Update... It's a beautiful day for sure with another one coming Saturday. Look for highs around 70 degrees this afternoon and again tomorrow. I have had a chance to examine the 12Z models and thought it would be a good time to give you an update. While we are very certain of a major and disruptive system Tuesday for much of the central United States, the details still need to be sorted out. The models continue with a northward and warmer trend. The GFS even takes highs into the mid 50s Tuesday, but at this time, I'm undercutting readings with highs in the 40s. If you forecast based only on models, it's a cold rain for most of the state with a change over to some snow/ice before ending across the north. While that is still very much possible, I think more swings in the data will offer different solutions until we get to Sunday or Monday. Why? The system is still offshore and hasn't been sampled well for the models to get an accurate read. Also, the strength of the high and the low level arctic air will be a challenge for the models to analyze and it will be a challenge for them to correctly forecast the exact track of the low. You also have to remember what happened earlier this week with the storm over eastern Arkansas and western Tennessee. The models didn't have a clue 3 to 4 days prior to that event. I think the same can be said here. Right now, based on all the available data, it's a cold rain for most of the Natural State and that's what I'll have in my forecast, but I will also warn everyone to keep checking back to find out the latest. More later....
I just couldn't resist it. I hope it gave you a good laugh. The models are flipping and flopping all over the place once again. They all agree there will be a storm next week, but the key disagreement is the placement of the surface low. As we examine and watch all the data over the next several days, you must watch where the surface low tracks. The further north... warmer... and the further south... colder. Most of the computer models shifted a little north late Thursday and this would bring a cold rain to much of the state followed by a change over to a wintry mix on the back side of the system.
You must remember, we are dealing with low level arctic air next week and it naturally wants to spread downhill like water on a mountain. I can't see the surface low tracking much further north into the colder air, but I guess anything is possible. Check out the various computer model runs from last night and look at where the surface low is at 6 PM Tuesday according to the GFS, Euro, GEM, and UKMET The other thing to look at on this map is the very strong high pressure in the northern plains. This will bring the extremely cold air into our region next week. Remember, the models rarely handle advancing arctic air masses well. They typically arrive sooner and stronger than forecast.
|00Z Euro valid 6 PM Tuesday. Surface low directly over Little Rock. This would bring nothing but a cold rain followed by a change over once the system departs.|
|06Z GFS valid 6 PM Tuesday. Surface low near Shreveport. Freezing line at the surface is through northern AR. The model usually underestimates the southern extent of the sub-freezing air|
|The 00Z UKMET valid 6 PM Tuesday. Surface low a bit faster and to the southeast over Jackson, MS. This would argue for a colder temperature profile and more wintry weather, especially to the northwest half of the state.|
|00Z GEM valid Tuesday at 6 PM. Surface low near Memphis with a cold rain for most of the state. This could bring a change over to wintry weather on the back side, especially Tuesday night over western and northern Arkansas|