3:00 PM Update:
Quite a temperature difference across the state at 3:00 PM with temperatures in the mid and upper 20s in NW Arkansas while parts of southern Arkansas are in the upper 60s to 70 degrees.
The Winter Weather Advisory has been expanded and now takes in most of eastern Arkansas for light accumulations of freezing rain/sleet and snow. Some hazardous travel conditions may develop later tonight in the advisory area. If precipitation is heavier and colder air is faster getting here, this could be expanded a little to the west and include the LR Metro. The timing still looks like late tonight between 11 PM – 1 AM +/- for seeing frozen precipitation in the LR Metro.
Some sort of winter weather will be seen across at least the northern half of Arkansas tonight as arctic air moves into the state and an upper-level storm system moves through the region. Impacts to the state are a little uncertain at this time but it does appear that there will be some hazardous travel develop due to light icing over parts of northern and eastern sections.
Cloudy skies with scattered showers will ongoing through much of the day today with rather warm temperatures for early January. Highs will be in the 50s and 60s with some model data showing highs in the mid-60s for the Little Rock area. Rain will increase tonight as the arctic cold front and storm system move through. As the colder air moves into the state there will be a transition to freezing rain and then sleet as the colder air deepens with some light snow possible as the precipitation ends from west to east. Depending on when the colder air gets here will determine the extent of the frozen precipitation. If it gets here sooner and rain is still falling, then accumulations of ice could go up slightly and if it gets here after most of the moisture has left the region then accumulations would be less.
Some of the high-resolution model data suggest that a transition will occur during the evening hours in NW and western sections, between 11:00 PM and 1:00 AM in the Little Rock area and after midnight in the east and SE. Amounts at this time are forecast to remain light with about a two-hour window or so of any frozen precipitation with generally less than 1/10″ of freezing rain and up to 1/3″ of an inch of sleet in areas to the north and east of Little Rock with lesser amounts from Little Rock south and west. We must remember that it only takes a very small amount of ice to form a glaze on the roadways, bridges, and overpasses so there could be some travel issues early in the morning on Friday.
Gusty NW winds will increase behind the cold front with speeds of 10-20 mph with gusts to 35 mph at times. This may actually help dry any moisture from the roads before it can freeze. Lows are forecast to drop into the mid-20s north and upper 20s central and east so any moisture left on the roadways may freeze.
All precipitation is forecast to be out of the state by early Friday morning with temperatures rising above freezing later in the morning with afternoon highs in the middle 30s north to the low 40s south. This will be dependant on how much ice is on the ground and amount of sunshine we see.
A cold weekend is in store for Arkansas with highs in the 30s and 40s with lows in the teens and 20s.
Another push of cold air is forecast to move into the state late Monday and may bring another chance of light wintry precipitation to the state. It would most likely be light snow if it occurs.
Have a great Thursday and thanks for reading.