I think this cold air is every bit as harsh as we have been talking about. The low Monday morning in Little Rock was 13 degrees. The GFS has 12 and the NAM has 9 degrees Tuesday morning in Little Rock, but the winds will not be as high. Will we get down into the single digits for the first time since February of 1996? I have my doubts. Remember, we need three things: clear skies, NO wind, and snow cover. We obviously don't have the snow on the ground in Little Rock. I think the official will be 10 or 11 degrees, BUT outlying areas will go into the single digits. I'm not saying it's impossible for Little Rock to drop into the single digits, it's just very difficult if you don't have all three of those key ingredients. It will be interesting to watch.
We'll come out of this deep freeze as we go into Wednesday and Thursday, but a round of ice and snow will be likely late Wednesday into Thursday morning. I expect the models are warming us up too much Thursday, but we should easily manage to get above freezing so I only expect problems for a few hours. The target area will be western and northern Arkansas, but I think central areas have a chance as well. At this time, I think snow will fall across at least the northern 1/3 of the state with a mix of freezing rain and sleet further south and west. There are differences in the modeling that must be sorted out. For instance, the GFS appears colder than the NAM. I might be issuing another SCHOOL:CON index map Tuesday.
Here are a few maps below...
|By midnight, most of the state is at or below freezing, except the south and southeast.|
|At 6AM Thursday, the freezing line is still over southern Arkansas.|
|By midnight Thursday, you can see icing problems across the north and west. Little Rock is borderline with this model|
|By 6AM Thursday, we see a wintry mix across the northern half of the state. Shortly after sunrise, temperatures should climb above freezing from south to north changing the mix to plain, cold rain.|
In summary, there are a few things that still need to be resolved with this Wednesday PM/Thursday AM forecast. Precip type will be quite tricky. Many times, arctic air is more stubborn leaving than the models indicate which would lead to a more icy scenario and a colder Thursday, however, I still think temperatures will go above freezing Thursday morning. At this time, I think it's best to say western and northern Arkansas stand the best chance for seeing snow and ice and it could be enough to cause plenty of travel headaches. Central Arkansas is more questionable. STAY TUNED!