Saturday, March 01, 2014

Snow, Sleet, Freezing Rain, Rain, Thunderstorms, Hail, and Wind. Sunday Mess Coming


CONGRATULATIONS TO ROBERT MOORE FOR WINNING THE WINTER WEATHER CONTEST WITH HIS GUESS OF 36.8''.  THE ACTUAL WAS 37.5''.  HE WAS CLOSEST WITHOUT GOING OVER.
 



The title says it all.  Did I miss anything?  Locust? LOL.  All of those will be possible in Arkansas Sunday

This will be a short post with more later today.  I'm taking the day off from work (physically being in the KATV building) to get a few things done around the house with my wife.

The forecast really has not changed much at all, but I have a few thoughts I want to share with you.  The exact timing of the powerful, sharp cold front continues to be problematic.  I think it's a safe bet to say it moves through the metro between 9 AM and Noon Sunday.  The transition from mild to cold will be very abrupt.  It won't happen gradually.  

While northern Arkansas will have frozen precip for most of the day, the change from cold rain showers to sleet/freezing rain will be around mid to late afternoon for central Arkansas.  The change for southern Arkansas will happen later Sunday night and the duration there will not be all that long.

The winter storm watches and warnings are primarily in effect for significant accumulations of freezing rain and sleet.  Between the two, you want sleet.  Sleet does not collect to trees and powerlines and freezing rain does.  There's a chance enough freezing rain could accumulate to raise a concerns for power outages.  Not saying that's going to happen, but whenever you're dealing with a "juiced up" storm with temperatures below 32, that does cause concern!!  Now throw in some gusty winds and that could add insult to injury and cause more power outages.

Some of the precipitation will be "convective" and this will enhance amounts.  This means we'll have sleet/freezing rain with thunder and lightning at the same time.  Thundersleet.

As far as travel is concerned, northern Arkansas will have deteriorating conditions starting Sunday morning.  Roads will have the potential to ice up around central Arkansas late Sunday afternoon and evening. 

In the warm sector, southern Arkansas will have the possibility for strong to severe thunderstorms.  The Storm Prediction Center has placed southern Arkansas in a "slight risk" mainly for hail and high winds.

Here's something else to think about.  IF there's ice on the roads across central Arkansas Monday morning,  I anticipate improving road conditions by the afternoon even if we have cloud cover.  The March sun is getting higher in the sky and insolation will help melt off the roads despite temperatures at or just slightly below freezing.  So what I'm saying, I don't expect to be "iced" in for a long period of time (if we do end up receiving the ice).  The bigger concern may be power outages and how soon those can get restored.  That again is a BIG "IF".  If we have more sleet than freezing rain, this won't be a huge concern, but we really need to watch it.

Of course, this forecast can still change and will likely need adjusting and we'll keep you updated.

As of Saturday morning, the blue is a winter storm watch for Sunday and the pink is a winter storm warning Sunday.
A slight risk for severe weather south.  The main threat will be hail and wind. 

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NOAA Winter Guidance