Sunday, March 02, 2014

It's Here... SleetPocolypse

TWITTER: KATV_WEATHER

Here it is.  This SCHOOL:CON index was made this Sunday AM.  Changes to this are still possible.


The winter storm is beginning to unfold.  As of 8AM, the front has passed central Arkansas and we'll have falling temperatures all day long.  The following are the forecasting challenges we have today...


  1. When will we transition to freezing rain
  2. How long will the duration of freezing rain be?  This will have a significant impact on power outages.
  3. When will we go over to sleet and how much will accumulate
  4. Where will the thunderstorms occur and enhance sleet/freezing rain totals.
  5. Will wind play a role increasing the number of power outages (assuming more freezing rain)
  6. How much snow will fall towards the end of the event across northern Arkansas
  7. Where will temperatures end up Monday morning and will they be in record territory. 
With all those questions, I really think we have a good handle on the forecast.  These types of systems can always throw curve balls and I expect some adjustments along the way.

Right now, I expect a transition to freezing rain in the metro around 2-5PM, then to sleet.  I would not be surprised to see sleet amounts .5'' to 2'' with locally higher amounts where thundersleet occurs.  Yes, I do think there will be power outages, but that's dependent upon how much and how long the freezing rain lasts.  If it continues for a long period of time, more outages.  If we transition to sleet quickly, less power outages, but more travel problems.  We'll have travel problems regardless!

Low temperatures Monday will be in the low to mid teens in central Arkansas challenging record lows.  Winds will be strong this evening into the overnight and this will take wind chill values to near 0 and well below zero north

Southern Arkansas, you will not escape this.  However, the amounts there should be less since the cold air arrives later.  Remember though, it does NOT take much ice to cause travel issues so roads will likely get slick there.

The following maps are from weatherbell.com.  Remember, they show how much precipitation over the past 3 hours.  Green is rain, blue is snow, orange is sleet, and purple is freezing rain. The red line is the 32 degree line and the blue line is 35 degrees. This is the newest data as of Sunday morning from the North American Model

By noon, sleet and freezing rain is occurring over the northern 1/3 of Arkansas with the freezing line from near Fort Smith to near Heber Springs over to just north of Memphis.  Rain is elsewhere with falling temperatures across all, but southern AR at this point.
By 3PM, the freezing line is located from Scott county into northern Pulaski county over to Memphis.  REMEMBER, THIS IS JUST A COMPUTER MODEL AND IT WILL NOT BE PERFECT.  Look at the narrow transition area from rain to freezing rain, then it quickly changes to sleet (orange).  At this point, winds are really beginning to crank up out of the east and northeast.
By 6 PM, the freezing line is located from near DeQueen to near Pine Bluff to near Helena.  Sleet, thunder, and lightning is increasing across much of central and northern Arkansas.
By 9PM, all but far southern AR is below freezing and sleet is falling and falling heavily in spots, especially central and eastern AR.  It's changing to snow arcoss the far northwest as the cold air gets deeper.
Between 9 PM and midnight, we should see the back edge moving into western AR.  All of Arkansas has some sort of freezing precip at this point and winds are strong.
By 3AM, it's just about gone.
3PM temperatures show temps falling rapidly behind the front located over far southern AR.  Getting close to freezing central AR at this point.
6PM Temperatures.  We're in the 20s central and north.  Some teens up north too.  Wind chill values are brutal
9PM, below freezing across a large majority of the state.
Before the front moves through, there is a slight risk for severe weather south.  The main threat will be wind and hail.
IN SUMMARY, THERE CONTINUES TO BE A HIGH DEGREE OF CONFIDENCE A WINTER STORM WILL UNFOLD RESULTING IN DANGEROUS TRAVEL.   ALSO, POWER OUTAGES CAN BE EXPECTED.  HOW MANY?  AGAIN THAT DEPENDS UPON THE DURATION OF THE FREEZING RAIN.  RIGHT NOW, WE EXPECT SOME, BUT THE PRIMARY PRECIP TYPE ONCE YOU GO BELOW FREEZING WILL BE SLEET.

IT'S IMPORTANT TO NOTE, NO SNOW/ICE FORECAST WILL EVER BE PERFECT, ESPECIALLY WHEN DEALING WITH A COMPLEX AND DYNAMIC SYSTEM LIKE THIS.  THERE WILL BE CURVE BALLS THROWN OUR WAY AND I'LL DO MY BEST TO STAY ON TOP OF IT.

THANKS FOR MAKING THE ARKANSAS WEATHER BLOG WHAT IT IS TODAY AND TRUSTING ME WITH YOUR INFORMATION.  IT MEANS A LOT!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think I speak for everyone when I say we're gonna miss this weather :( not looking forward to summer roasting us in hell in 110 degree heat