It will be a stormy start to 2022 in Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley.

Light rain showers will close out 2021 with heavier bands of rain moving in around 2-3 AM Saturday from west to east. Widespread 2-3 inches of rain will be possible by Saturday afternoon, leading to concerns about localized flash flooding in the region.

A flood watch has been issued by the National Weather Service for Carroll, Madison, Crawford, Franklin, & Sebastian counties in Arkansas until noon Saturday. Sequoyah and Le Flore counties in Oklahoma are also under the flood watch until 12 P.M. Saturday.

The eastern counties of our area (Boone, Newton, Johnson, Scott, and Logan counties) will remain under a flood watch until 6 P.M. Saturday.

A few storms Saturday morning in the River Valley will have the potential to become strong or severe as they move over the area.

While the majority of the ingredients for severe weather will remain to our southeast, some models are hinting a little bit may just clip our southern viewing area south of Fort Smith. The latest risks for Saturday morning have a level 2/5 (slight) risk for the River Valley with a level 1/5 risk just barely getting into Northwest Arkansas.

In terms of individual severe hazards, all of them will be possible but flash flooding is the highest followed by gusty winds and hail. There is a very low, but not zero risk for tornadoes in the River Valley.

After the rain moves out early Saturday morning, a cold front will move through NW Arkansas and the River Valley. Temperatures will drastically drop in just a few hours, going from the 60s around lunchtime to the 30s by sunset.

Overnight temperatures Saturday into Sunday will fall into the teens for most across Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley with wind chills in the single digits.

In addition to the frigid temperatures, flurries are expected Saturday night in our area.

Any snow accumulation will be very light, maybe a dusting. We are not expecting many impacts on the roadways in Northwest Arkansas or the River Valley at this time.

Of course, you can stay with your NWA Weather Authority team for the latest updates on any changes to the forecast. We hope you have a great New Years’ Eve and an even better start to 2022!