Weather Blog: Update on Snow Potential for Monday. Will Travel Be Impacted?

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A large early season winter system is moving in for our Monday and it appears a rain to wintry mix to accumulating snow is looking likely for our area. Here’s the latest start and expiration times for the Winter Weather Advisories (as of 8 PM Sunday night), which are covered by three National Weather Service Offices.

– For NE OK & NWA… from 3 AM until 6 PM Mon (Tulsa NWS)

– For SW Missouri… from 6 AM until 3 AM Tue (Springfield NWS)

– For Eastern NWA… from 6 AM until 6 PM Mon (Little Rock NWS)

The precipitation will start as a cold rain starting as early as 4 AM across the NWA area. Notice as the system strengthens over the area by late morning, the cold rain will change over to a wintry mix of rain and sleet. The changeover to all snow in parts of NE OK will be rather swift by late morning.  Below is the expected timeline of the various conditions for the Northwest Arkansas area.  The changeover for all snow for the entire NWA area is expected by around 11 AM.

So here’s what you need to know with the 4 W’s… the “what, when, where and why”

– Road conditions should be okay in the morning as temperatures remain just above freezing. By the afternoon, temperatures will continue to drop to around freezing with strong northerly winds leading to some slick spots on the roadways (bridges and overpasses)… especially by the evening as temps continue to drop.

Now on to the most difficult part of the forecast… HOW MUCH SNOW WILL YOU GET?!?!  Various computer models vary with the snow totals. (Our accumulation map looking at all the latest data is at the top). 

Below is the European model showing on average about 1+ inches, with a few spots picking up over 2+ inches. I think this might be on the low side considering the strength of the system.

Below is the GFS model… this is showing more snow, but still keeping totals between 1 to 2 inches, with some higher elevation areas nearing 3 inches in the Boston Mountains.  I think this is more likely, but still might be too low considering the snow banding that could lead to heavier amounts in spots.  

Finally… here is the NAM model, which is the outlier showing the heaviest amounts.  Confidence is rather low this computer model will be correct considering how temperatures will be hovering above freezing for the early part of the snow event. The system is rather strong, so it’s not completely out of the question this won’t verify… but it’s rather unlikely.

So while the confidence is low that snow amounts will be more than 4″ in a large area, it’s not completely out of the question. The more likely scenario will be widespread 1 to 2 inches, but there’s medium confidence totals could range between 3 to 4 inches.

Bottom line is precipitation is likely with some accumulating snow. Travel will most likely be impacted during the afternoon and especially into the early evening as temperatures will fall below freezing.  Rick will have the latest computer models in the morning and update the expected snowfall accumulations along with any potential school closings.

Keep it here with your Weather Authority for the latest Winter Weather Information.

-Chief Meteorologist Dan Skoff

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