It has been 4 years since our last good snowfall accumulation across the region! That streak will likely be broken tomorrow as a massive storm system moves in bringing a high likelihood of accumulating snowfall to parts of Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley.
Set-Up for Snow
An area of upper level lift currently located over the 4 corners region is going to dig and swing through our region Sunday, December 13. This will combine with a chunk of cold air already in place, and good moisture to produce quite the winter weather event for our area.
Timing for Winter Weather
Rain will start spitting as early as 9-10 am Sunday morning. As cooling takes place temperatures will start to drop creating a rain/snow mix briefly before all of it turns to snow around 11am-12pm. Some of the snow could be heavy at times and put down a few inches of snow in a short time. This would be especially true in some of the more intense snow bands, which is certainly a possibility due to the track of the storm system.
Snow will then fall likely through the afternoon hours into the early evening hours. The precipitation will start to taper off through the later evening hours around 9-10pm.
Light rain will also start to fall around 9-10am Sunday morning. As the temperatures cool the rain will transition to a rain/snow mix along the Arkansas River including the city of Fort Smith. This transition will occur most likely around mid morning to early afternoon.
Some of the higher elevations of the Ouachita Mountains will see some snow accumulation as the storm system pivots south late afternoon through the evening.
NWA Weather Authority Snowfall Accumulation Map!
General thinking is 2-5″ across much of the valley locations in Northwest Arkansas. Parts of western Oklahoma and the higher terrain of NWA could see 6+” of snow from this event! The outskirts of this system will depend on where the snow bands set-up so take this with a grain of salt. Parts of SW Missouri could see up to 2″.
The River Valley will mostly likely see a wintry mix during this event and maybe a dusting of some snow. The higher terrain of the Ouachita Mountains could see anywhere from 2-3″ of snow.
KEEP IN MIND this forecast is subject to change. We could see more or less depending on where the snow bands actually set-up.
Possible Impacts From This Event
Extremely cold temperatures will be left in the system’s wake (we are talking upper teens possible across NWA and mid 20s across the RV for the start to Monday morning.
I think starting off in the morning into part of the afternoon roads should be drivable. As we get into the later afternoon hours, we could start to see fast accumulation and that has the potential to overcome the road treatments and make secondary roads slick and treacherous to drive on.
As we go into the overnight hours, the snow that has fallen will likely freeze even on the major roadways making commuting very difficult and dangerous Monday morning. If we see major accumulation through the evening, please make sure to stay off the roads!
Monday morning we could have patches of ice and snow to deal with especially on untreated and secondary roads. Highway bridges also will likely be very slippery. Make to slow down and give yourself extra time to get to your destination!
You can monitor road conditions on idrivearkansas.com, and we will also be giving you updates on our social media pages as well as on TV when necessary.
Keep it here with your NWA Weather Authority Team for the latest updates on this Winter Storm. Stay healthy and safe!