Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Arctic Attack And Some Wintry Weather To Track

The cold air plunge is still scheduled to arrive Wednesday with falling temperatures and bitter wind chills.  All data continues to indicate we will spend most of Wednesday through Friday at or below freezing.  An extended period of freezing to well below freezing temperatures will be enough to cause problems with pipes.   Remember the 3 P's.  PETS, PIPES, AND PEOPLE.  This is not historic cold for us, but it will get your attention!!!!!

As the cold air comes in Wednesday, I would not be surprised to get a few reports of flurries over northern Arkansas.  I see quite a bit of mid level moisture moving in and with arctic air quickly moving into the state, a few flakes may fly up there, BUT it will not amount to anything.

The coldest morning should be Thursday.  I expect lows well into the single digits and teens.  The center of high pressure will be right on top of us so winds will not be a major issue at that time.  The models indicate Little Rock will be around 10.  While that's possible, I think 13-16 is more likely.  Not a big difference.

Now, this is where the forecast starts to get tricky.  No matter what model you look at, there's a chance for at least some winter weather.  At this time, it does NOT appear to be a major storm whatsoever.  Let's start with Friday.  The American GFS indicates some moisture trying to sneak into southern Arkansas.  With bone dry arctic air in place, it will be tough to get this to the ground.  However, it's possible for a few snowflakes and/or sleet to reach the ground.  Once again, this will not be a big deal at all, but even a little can cause a couple slick spots.  The time frame for this is Friday.

This weekend, the timing of any moisture is problematic.  Some cold air will be in place while a disturbance moves through.  At this time, it all appears light and the best way to describe it is "scattered".  If there is any precipitation, I would expect the majority of it to fall as light sleet and/or freezing rain.  I can't rule out a few snowflakes, but there should be some warming aloft to minimize that threat.  Even though amounts will be light (assuming this actually happens), we all know just a little can cause issues on the roads especially after several days of very cold temperatures.

One more thing before we go to the maps... for those of you who read model data especially the MOS data, did you notice a few days ago the GFS MOS had a high Saturday in the 40s and now it shows 28?  Part of that is due to the model always trying to trend towards climo towards the end of it's forecast parameter.  Once you get closer to the time period, reality sets into the model.  While I do expect some warming late into the weekend and into next week, I would watch those numbers come down a bit.

Our model, Futurecast shows temperatures close to average today.  This won't last long!!!!
Now onto wind chills Wednesday morning. BRRRRRRRRRRRRRR
By Wednesday afternoon at 2PM, the "heating of the day" is anything but that.  Temperatures should be at or below freezing for the entire metro.
Wind chill readings at 2PM Wednesday look BRUTAL for daylight hours in Arkansas.
Thursday morning should be bitterly cold!  Futurecast indicates readings mostly in the single digits at this time, but I don't think it will get this cold.  I would expect readings around 13-16.  I would not be surprised if a few outlying areas did get into the single digits though.  To get this cold, you really need completely clear skies, no wind, and snow cover.  Yes, we did go into the single digits last year without snow cover, but that's very difficult to do.  The wind shouldn't be much of a factor at this time as the center of high pressure will be on top of us.

The next series of maps are courtesy of weatherbell.com

The next few maps are from the new GFS.  The models first started hinting at this last night, but it does show an area of light snow and sleet Friday across portions of central and southern Arkansas Friday morning.  AT THIS TIME, I'M NOT BUYING THIS SCENARIO.  If the models continue the trend, then I'll take it more seriously.  It's important to note, it will have some serious dry surface air to overcome.  However, remember what Barry Brandt always says, "With arctic air in place, anything can happen."  That statement is soooo true which is why we'll keep an eye on this.  The European model shows this moisture staying south.
This is valid late Saturday night into Sunday morning.  This model is very aggressive with wintry weather so this could be considered "wishcasting".  It indicates a surface low in the western Gulf throwing moisture back into the cold air.  The deep cold air is retreating to the north with low level arctic air lingering further south.  While I think wintry weather will be possible, it might not be as widespread as this.   STAY TUNED!!!!!! I apologize for the blue surface low.  Just noticed that and I'm too lazy to remake the map. LOL! 

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