Friday, January 05, 2018

Wintry For Some, But Thaw In Sight

Before you get too excited, I don't see any widespread chances for wintry weather this weekend, but I do think we may have to deal with light icing across portions of northern Arkansas for a time early Sunday morning into the early afternoon.  Trust me, it's not wish-casting since the models clearly show the potential and it makes sense given the features on map. 

We will have an arctic high moving away from the state and moisture will follow.  Where those two overlap is the concern.  If you have been a reader here on the Arkansas Weather Blog, you know arctic air is stubborn to moderate and we will likely see that across northern Arkansas Sunday, especially in the valley areas.  That's where the heavy, dense air will settle and take time to scour out.  It's like trying to push a heavy brick with a garden hose.

The rain will be needed since we are still in a drought despite the heavy rain towards the end of last month.  

I'm already watching the end of next week too.  However, I urge caution since the models have been such horrible forecasting tools lately.  We will have another cold front come through and a wave of low pressure develop along that boundary.  There are signs it could develop over Arkansas, but other signs it could be further east and south.  Yes, further east and south!  Wouldn't that be fitting for how this winter has been for us?

As we go into the following week, January 15th, the well-known "January Thaw" will begin to take over and we'll have substantial warming for the last half of January.  Winter weather lovers, never fear, there's still plenty of time in February and March.

All of the following maps are from

3 hour precip from 9AM to noon Sunday has that stubborn cold air over northern Arkansas for a light wintry mix.  The red line is the 32° line and the blue line is the 35° line.  The moisture is running into the back end of the cold, sub-freezing arctic air.
From noon to 3PM, Sunday the subfreezing air is leaving the state and it's mostly a cold rain.  Temperatures will struggle to get out of the 30s for much of the northern half of the state.
By the end of next week, the GFS has a wave of low pressure developing along another arctic boundary.  Cold air is pouring into the state from the north.  This model does NOT show any wintry weather for us, but the Euro does show the potential.  Again, I urge caution in dealing with long range models.  We have seen how horrible they are this winter.
Confidence is building we'll have a good ole' fashioned January Thaw beginning the week of January 15th.  Milder Pacific air will flood the country and the arctic air will leave.  Will winter return?  Too early to know, but I would say there's a good chance.

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