A Winter Weather Advisory has been issued for the area, starting late December 22 into 6:00 a.m. the morning of Saturday, December 23. A wintry mix of rain changing to light freezing-rain and then sleet to snow looks likely for parts of the area.
Temperatures will continue to fall to near-freezing in NWA, leading to rain changing over to a frozen mix after midnight tonight. Below: (Hi-res computer model Future Radar at 2:00 a.m. December 23)
The changeover from rain to snow will occur quicker in Northwest Benton county, Northeast Oklahoma and Southwest Missouri, which will lead to higher accumulations of snow on grassy and elevated surfaces. Below is the future radar at 3:00 a.m. December 23.
As the tail edge of the system moves out, the wintry precipitation could become enhanced, leading to faster snowfall rates, which could lead to a light covering on bridges and elevated roads. Below is the future radar at 4:00 a.m. December 23.
Several computer models vary in snowfall accumulations (shown below), with the NAM model having the highest totals around 2 to 3 inches. Much of the snow will mix with rain, combining with warm soil and ground temperatures to lessen snowfall accumulation. This is the reason for the big variation in the computer models. I’m leaning more towards the lesser totals.
So, here’s what I expect in terms of snowfall accumulation around 1 to 2 inches with a few spots near the Missouri border picking up near 3 inches (BELOW). Again, this will mainly be on grassy and elevated surfaces, but slick bridges and overpasses could develop Sat morning. Keep it here with your Weather Authority for the latest winter weather updates. –Chief Meteorologist Dan Skoff