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I think most of this precipitation will fall in the form of a cold rain, but we'll have to watch for some ice, especially north and west. Whenever you're dealing with the interaction between retreating arctic air and a strong area of low pressure aloft, it can throw a couple curve balls your way so that's something to keep in mind.
During the day Thursday, dry, low level arctic air will help lead to a process called "evaporative cooling". This could bring a period of sleet/rain to much of the area with temperatures falling a couple degrees. Even with the cooling, temperatures should stay barely above freezing EXCEPT western and northern Arkansas. The higher elevations will be more susceptible to those colder temperatures. Why not snow? The air aloft will be too warm.
We should then transition to a cold miserable rain. By Thursday night into Friday morning, temperatures may drop to freezing across some portions of north and western Arkansas leading to a mixture of freezing rain and/or sleet. Again, a few slick spots will be possible across those location. By Friday, temperatures stay very cold, but warm enough for most of Arkansas to see only rain.
Across the metro, I do not expect much in the way of travel issues except wet roads. Remember, curve balls can be thrown and if it's just a few degrees colder, things can change. However, this is the best forecast to go with at this time.
The maps below are courtesy of weatherbell.com
|Look at 6PM Friday. Most of the state will transition to that cold and miserable rain Friday. The majority of the precip will be a cold rain.|
|Total precipitation amounts will be heaviest across the southwest and could approach 3 inches.|
|WPC indicates a good chance for at least .01'' or more of freezing rain for areas across western and northern Arkansas.|