FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) —Meteorologist Peyton Langford here, back with another weather blog. This time it’s about this big cold front that’s coming, and more about the recent fall and even winter trends.

By now, I hope you’re weather-aware of the cold front making its way into our area over the next 24-36 hours. If not, this surface analysis shows the whereabouts of fronts across North America.

A surface analysis showing the placement of fronts as of Wednesday 2:26 PM CDT

The first cold front is just off to the north with heavy rain out ahead and behind the front. The second stronger cold front is just now pushing into northern Montana.

What’s the big deal?

The big deal is that this front contains Canadian/Polar air which contains much colder and drier air compared to milder and more moist Pacific NW air. This is the first true “cold punch” of the season. Here’s a reference below to the different types of air masses.

Recently we’ve seen mP fronts, but as we get deeper into October we’ll be seeing cP mixed with some cA. The letters just describe if it’s over land or over water and where the air comes from.

Another reason why this front is a big deal is that we could see temperatures below 40°F for the first time since May 3rd, 2023. That day the temperature dipped to 35°F for Northwest Arkansas. The last time the River Valley was below 40°F was March 29th, 2023 with a recorded low of 39°F.

How does this compare to Climatology?

Normally, the temperatures at this time for Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley are (74/48) and (79/55) respectively, so we’ll definitely be cooler than normal. While Northwest Arkansas may get down to the upper 30s, it won’t get down to freezing levels just yet, so no need to cover up those plants. Speaking of freezes, the graphic below shows when the average first frost/ freeze is, as well as the earliest and latest freeze.

Northwest Arkansas’s average first freeze, earliest freeze, and latest freeze.
Fort Smith’s average first freeze, earliest freeze, and latest freeze.

While we are drastically cooling down this weekend, overall, we’ll be par for the course. The more drastic freezes won’t occur until later in the year as seen below.

Average and earliest, light frost, hard freeze, and killing freeze for Northwest Arkansas.
Fort Smith’s average and earliest, light frost, hard freeze, and killing freeze.

That fall-like feeling is finally here, so it’s time to bust out the sweaters for at least a couple of days before we start to warm back up again into the upper 70s to low 80s as another ridge of high pressure develops. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them by email at weather@knwa.com

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