11PM Sunday Update... This is a tricky forecast later tonight. As temperatures fall, the models show the rain changing to snow after 3 AM. It's going to take awhile to get those surface temperatures down into the low to mid 30s. If we change over to snow, readings around freezing will only promote accumulation on grassy surfaces and elevated object. The models have been keying in on areas from near Conway east and north of I-40 for a little more accumulation. We'll see what happens when the morning rolls around
The mid week system still looks healthy with the highest amounts across western Arkansas. Those amounts will decrease a little the further east you go. I think it's safe to start talking about forecast amounts Monday as we will be within 48 hours. This storm will not be a blizzard as I have explained. It's just a classic set up for snow in Arkansas. Don't get use to this winter weather, a big warm up is still right around the corner.
I'll have more in the AM.
8:15 AM Sunday Update... Meteorologists in this region of the country will earn their pay and then some this week. It's very complicated and active. The reward will be next weekend into next week as the models are already forecasting 50s and 60s for highs and that may be too cool. Let's get through the next few days.
The models are somewhat agreeing on the potential tonight for rain changing to a wintry mix. I have analyzed the data and it suggests that if there's a changeover, it won't happen until after midnight in Little Rock at the earliest and 3 AM at the latest. The temperature near the surface and just above will be too warm. Once it does cool, it will only be close to 32 degrees which means any accumulation will be confined to grassy areas, elevated surfaces, bridges, and overpasses. Once the Monday morning commute starts, the warmth from the traffic and a bump in the temperature into the mid and upper 30s should clear whatever problems exist. I'll be completely honest with you, the system tonight has high bust potential. A swing of a couple of degrees can mean a little more snow. Slightly warmer and it's all rain. The models generally are putting out a dusting to 2'' across much of the southwestern, central, and northeastern areas of the state.
The system Wednesday has some differences with the models now. Everything shows the storm, but amounts are not as heavy as indicated by the data over the past few days. This is why I stressed below NOT to see the models as a forecast right now. The GFS wants to crank out heavy snow across the western half of the state, then it decreases the further east you go. The Euro is a little different and keeps the precip. going further east with .4'' of water for central Arkansas. With the cold air in place, ratios would be high and that could equate to several inches of snow. The GFS on the other hand only shows around 4'' for Little Rock. We have seen more, BUT THIS WILL CHANGE WITH EACH AND EVERY COMPUTER MODEL RUN SO PLEASE DON'T TAKE THESE NUMBERS LITERALLY AS A FORECAST!
Sorry about the all caps! lol. All the models continue to show the massive warm up we have been discussed for several days starting Saturday and Sunday of next weekend.
I will have MUCH more later as the new data comes in.
Thanks for reading the Arkansas Weather Blog... we are your ticket to BIG weather events!
11:30 PM Sunday Update... The GFS came back more aggressive with a wintry mix Sunday night and even gives some accumulations to portions of Arkansas including Little Rock. If anything does fall, temperatures will be right around 32 to 35 so it would only stick to grassy areas. If temperatures go any lower, then there could be problems. The GFS also shows the next storm system diminishing as it moves across Arkansas with the highest totals for western Arkansas. This is exactly what I have been talking about. Don't trust the models whether they say 2'' or 10''. The details will vary until we get closer to the event. Once the models come into good agreement within 48 hours, then we can really get specific. My advice to everyone is NOT to get your hopes up. This has been a much talked about system and expectations are high. We'll just wait and see.
The next 7 days has the potential to be so wintry, even the biggest snow lover could be begging for mercy and cheering on spring. Here's what we should watch for over the next 7 days:
1. Weak system Sunday night and the potential for light snow
2. Winter storm Tuesday night and Wednesday
3. Coldest air of the season following.
4. Single digits for lows in Little Rock? It's possible and hasn't happened in 15 years.
5. MASSIVE warm up the following week.
I have several maps below to illustrate what the models are saying every step of the way. The weak system Sunday night has the potential to bring light snows to the state, but my concern is with surface temperatures being too warm. While it may snow, any major accumulation may not be possible. A surface low will form to our west and push through the state tomorrow night with readings in the mid 30s. This system is wimpy compared to what the models show Tuesday night and Wednesday.
GFS indicates amounts ranging from 6-10 inches across much of the state. This will NOT be a blizzard since winds will be under that criteria. This is a classic set up for a classic winter storm. Once it exits, cold high pressure sits on us and we have the opportunity to go into the single digits for the first time in 15 years in Little Rock. This will only happen if we have snow on the ground, calm winds, and clear skies.
The major long term models agree on a major pattern change the following week. The ridge of high pressure sticking into Alaska is replaced by troughing in the eastern Pacific. This will help promote a ridge of high pressure across our region which scours out all the arctic air. This will allow temperatures to go well above average. How long will that last? Is this the end of winter 2010-2011? That I can't answer, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel and that light is warm sunshine!
Check out the maps below and check back with us here on the Arkansas Weather Blog... We are your ticket to BIG weather events!
|12Z Futurecast showing snow amounts Sunday night|
|12Z NAM showing possible snow amounts Sunday night|
|12Z Saturday GFS shows a surface low late Wed. in the northern Gulf. It shows heavy snow across much of Arkansas with the back edge moving into eastern OK. Notice the cold high pressure surrounding the storm on the north side bringing in cold air.|
|12Z GFS shows how much snow could POTENTIALLY fall across the United States over the next 120 hours.|
|12Z GFS showing POSSIBLE snowfall amounts over the next 120 hours. This WILL likely change. Remember, not a forecast... only a model|
|This is upper air pattern showing troughing in the central U.S. This is our current cold pattern.|
|In 10 days, the upper air pattern shows ridging and MUCH warmer air developing. A pattern change is likely by mid month.|