Thursday, December 28, 2017

Cold and Snow Chances


6PM Thursday Update... The more I review the data the harder the arctic hammer looks next week.  I continue to believe cold is the biggest story next week.  Winter weather chances continue, but it does not look good.  At this time, it appears only light snow showers or flurries, especially across western and southern Arkansas.  It does not look like a storm at this time, but there's still time to see how exactly this unfolds.  With that said, I'm not overly optimistic about winter weather chances.  If something changes, I'll let you know.  The cold air in place now is nothing short of impressive.  As I write this, we are in hour number 41 of at or below freezing temperatures and we should not pop above freezing until later Friday morning.  The arctic hammer next week should be stronger than what we have now.  I can't stress this enough, it will be pipe busting weather.  Remember pets and people as well.  The cold will come with quite a bit of wind and I still expect a wind chill advisory for portions of northern Arkansas Sunday and/or Monday morning.  To add insult to injury, there should be another impressive shot of cold air by the middle to end of next week.  

For those of you making your own snow, it's going to be PERFECT!  I can't even begin to tell you how happy it makes me to see you share in the joy of making snow.  No doubt memories are being made and kids are having a blast!  I love to see you share in my passion for weather and winter!

For an even more in-depth look at the model data and the forecast, scroll down to see my post from early Thursday morning

The European guidance high and low temperatures through next week.  Look at the long period below freezing from Sunday through Tuesday, then a brief spike above freezing.  Another front ends that next Thursday.  Lots of cold!

The GFS from WeatherBell.com.  It's similar in terms of temperatures.  That's a long, cold period.

The NAM snowfall accumulation from WeatherBell.com.  Spotty and very light amounts possible Sunday.  Don't get too excited at this time.  As you see, this may not be much at all.  If it changes, I'll let you know.

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It's one of those blog posts I wonder, where in the world do I start?  For a few months, we had very little to talk about, then all of the sudden, here we are with extreme cold and even some snow chances.

Before I begin, please remember ponds and small lakes will freeze over.  Keep the kids off the ice.  You do not know how thick or thin it is and we want to prevent tragedy.

We already broke record low temperatures at North Little Rock, Stuttgart, and Batesville this Thursday morning.  The 16° at North Little Rock breaks the old record of 18° set in 1983. Yes, 1983!  That arctic outbreak was one of the most historic in Arkansas.  The Arkansas River froze over at that time, but I have doubts this cold will be able to do that.

The cold now really is nothing compared to what's coming down the road.  I expect brutal arctic air (Arctic Hammer) to arrive later Saturday into Sunday.

The biggest weather story over the next 7 days is the cold.  Make no mistake, it will be pipe busting cold with at least 3 days at or below freezing starting Sunday (New Year's Eve).  Also, remember pets and people! Wind chill temperatures will go below zero, especially across northern Arkansas Sunday and Monday morning.  A wind chill advisory will likely be needed.

The high temperature Monday could rank in the top 10 coldest New Year's temperature in recorded Little Rock weather history.

Now onto snow chances.  This is a low confidence forecast.  Anything which falls should be light, but anything light can cause travel issues.  Since Sunday is a busy travel day (New Year's Eve) this forecast is very important.

For days, the GFS went bonkers with heavy amounts of snow.  Now it shows NOTHING.  The European model showed nothing for several days and now it shows light snow.  They have flipped and flopped leading to a very low confidence forecast.  Nevertheless, there will be a chance, and if it happens, amounts should be light.

Now onto the next chance, Tuesday.  The European model shows a potent upper level low, but does NOT show any precipitation.  I have seen this movie before!  These lows can throw major curve balls in the forecast.  This is why I have included a small chance for light snow Tuesday.  Once again, this is a low confidence forecast.

The biggest weather story over the next week, will be the extremely cold air.

At this time, we're forecasting 27° for high New Year's Day.  This would be 4th coldest high temperature for January 1st in recorded Little Rock weather history.
The GFS went bonkers for several days with almost a foot of snow at times.  Now it shows this!  Remember it runs 4X a day and it's like a weather buffet.  You can pick and choose the weather you want with this model.
The Euro had NOTHING for a long time, and now it shows light snow New Year's Eve.  Again, LIGHT!  However, light wintry weather can cause big travel headaches.  Due to the model disagreement and flip flopping, you can see why this is a low confidence forecast.
Now onto Tuesday.  The Euro shows an impressive Upper Level Low (ULL) just west of us.  This compact disturbance can throw a curve ball into the forecast.  At the surface, the model generates little to NO precip.  It does show a bit across southern Arkansas.  This is something to watch for Tuesday

The GFS is completely different and has a different structure to the upper levels with the trough more strung out from west to east and not compact like the Euro.  This is cold and dry.  Once again, low confidence.
Summary - we are very confident brutally cold air will move into the United States and affect Arkansas.  We will have at least 3 days with temperatures at or below 32° and that's pipe busting!  Remember pets, pipes, and people.  As far as wintry weather is concerned, this is low confidence at this time.  However, anything which falls, should be light.  Remember, light wintry weather causes road problems and it needs to be watched, especially since many will be on the roads New Year's Eve.  

Stay warm and remember our COATS FOR KIDS and adults campaign.  Arkansans need your help NOW!  Drop off those coats at any Hangers Cleaners locations in central Arkansas ASAP!

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