A weather system the National Weather Service is calling “complicated” will arrive in Arkansas beginning Friday. Arkansans across the state will experience a system that will bring heavy rains for some, and significant snow accumulation for others.
The National Weather Service says widespread precipitation will “overspread” throughout the state in a south to north pattern. As the cold air moves, rain will change to sleet and freezing rain before ultimately changing to snow. The greatest likelihood for accumulations is Friday night through Saturday morning.
Those in north Arkansas can expect a wintry mix including snow. The amount of accumulation ranges from 1 to 7 inches in some areas. The National Weather Service says snow accumulation across northern Arkansas will depend on how much mixed precipitation, such as sleet or freezing rain, occurs.
Meteorologist Tabitha Clarke says central Arkansas will straddle the line between a wintry mix and just rain.
“If you’re in central Arkansas, you’re kind of on the edge of this wintry mix on Saturday. So just again, kind of monitor the forecast,” Clarke said. “There’ll be wet roads, cold rain. And then on Saturday night into Sunday morning, our temperatures should start to fall well enough below that we might actually see some snow.”
Though central Arkansas is on the cusp of this wintry mix, Clarke says drivers should still be careful. That is in part because the system is beginning with rain as opposed to snow.
“Unfortunately, we’re starting out with rain and heavy rain and that really plays a role in how they treat the roads. If this was just starting out as snow or ice, it would be a little different. So, certainly just use precaution because it’s going to be hard to treat this,” Clarke said.
For southern Arkansas, up to four inches of rain could fall. That could lead to flash flooding. Clarke says no matter where you are in Arkansas, pay close attention to the forecast this weekend.
This system is arriving just at the end of the National Weather Service’s Winter Weather Awareness week. Despite this wintry forecast, it is expected to warm back up the following week.