A developing storm system will likely bring impactful winter weather to Northwest Arkansas and possibly the River Valley beginning late tonight and Saturday!
An upper-level low-pressure system over North Dakota this morning will dive south across the Central Plains this weekend and head toward Northern Arkansas. A low pressure system at the surface will develop today and track across the Red River Valley over North Texas tonight, then move to southeast Arkansas by late Saturday afternoon. This surface low track is a good track if you are looking for snow across northern Arkansas.
A Winter Weather Advisory has been issued by the National Weather Service for Benton and Washington Counties plus a Winter Storm Watch has been issued for Carroll, and Madison counties from 3 A.M. Saturday, January 15 – 12 A.M. Sunday, January 16. Accumulating snow along with travel concerns are expected in these areas.
When you compare one of the models seen above, you will notice the blue shaded areas of snow work into western Arkansas early in the morning just before sunrise. Then as the colder air works in most of the area will change over to snow except for those areas in the River Valley where milder air gets trapped. This milder air will limit snow totals there.
All precipitation will begin to move out of Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley Saturday evening with most of the area drying out by midnight Sunday morning.
This is one of more challenging snow forecast I have made. This rotating upper level low is moving right at us. Under the center and to the cold side of the upper level spin is where you’ll find the most snow. Right now the upper spin is moving in a line from near Chanute, KS to Eureka Springs to Heber Springs. This is the area that will see heavier snowfall amounts. This is also an area of higher elevation allowing colder air to arrive faster. If this upper level low moves just 30 miles further west, the heavier snow will come with it. For right now, I am going with snowfall of 1-3 inches along the I-49 corridor with 3-5 inches in the higher elevation of Madison and Carroll Counties. Some areas of north central Arkansas could get walloped by heavy snow!
Snow-covered roadways and difficult travel conditions are likely Saturday, especially in the higher elevations. While raiding the grocery stores is not necessary, you should prepare to remain at home Saturday if possible. Temps will warm up behind this weather system and we could reach near 60° by Tuesday.
This forecast is HIGHLY DEPENDENT on multiple factors coming together and changes are likely, even this close to Saturday morning. Be sure to download the NWA Weather Authority app and follow us on social media for constant updates on the forecast and road conditions before, during, and after the storm.
FINALLY (& MOST IMPORTANTLY), have fun in the ❄️ if you get it, and don’t forget to send us your winter photos! ☃️ 😊