The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for most of the area from 12:00 p.m. Tuesday through 6:00 a.m. Wednesday. McDonald County and Barry County have the Winter Storm Watch in effect from 6:00 p.m. Tuesday through 9:00 a.m. Wednesday.
Here is a time frame of what you can expect from this storm. Chances of rain will move in late Tuesday morning. Rain will become widespread as we head into Tuesday afternoon. The rain will help to cool temperatures to around the freezing mark. Eventually, a changeover to all snow will occur. This change will initially take place in higher elevations such as the Boston Mountains during the early afternoon. By the mid-afternoon, the entirety of Northwest Arkansas will see the change from rain to snow. Not too long after that, the River Valley will see snow developing.
Snowfall rates will pick up late afternoon Tuesday into Tuesday night as the center of the winter system moves in. Heavy snow bands along with isolated lightning will be possible Tuesday evening. Precipitation chances will end from the west to the east Wednesday morning as this system exits the area. The forecast should be dry by daybreak Wednesday with just a small chance of wrap-around flurries.
Widespread moderate to major impacts are expected from this system. The commute home from school and work on Tuesday will be hazardous as the changeover to all snow occurs. Conditions will deteriorate even further Tuesday evening into Tuesday night as the heavier snow bands move in. If you can, avoid travel as the roads will become slushy and the visibilities will drop off to dangerous levels. Travel will become difficult to impossible during this time. The Wednesday morning drive will suffer from slushy roadways.
Impacts from this system will be felt through Wednesday as the snow struggles to melt. Any left-over moisture will refreeze Thursday morning as temperatures plummet to the lower 20s. Areas of black ice will be possible Thursday a.m.
Snowfall totals look to range from 2-4″ in Northwest Arkansas with isolated areas of 5″. The higher terrain in the Boston Mountains should see 5-8″ with local amounts up to 10″. The River Valley will see up to 3″. The higher terrain in the Ouachita Mountains will see up to 4″.
Make sure to prepare for this upcoming storm today and download the NWA Weather Authority app to keep up with all the latest.