Rain will change to ice and snow later this week as temperatures drop quickly across the Plains. Travel will become dangerous and power outages are expected.
ARKANSAS, USA — February 2022 will start with a major winter storm to hit the central U.S., bringing a messy mix of rain, ice, sleet, and snow. The farther north you go, the more sleet and snow is expected. The farther south you go, the more ice is likely to buildup.
Arkansas and Oklahoma will get the heart of this storm, starting with ice and then switching over to sleet. Accumulations will be heavy.
QUICK FORECAST (scroll down for more)
– Up to a half inch of ice
– Few inches of sleet/snow on top
Rain showers are moving north from the Gulf of Mexico. Colder air diving south from Canada will mix with the rain, changing precipitation to ice, sleet, and snow.
The heaviest snow will fall from Oklahoma into Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana. The biggest ice accumulations will build-up from Arkansas toward the Ohio River Valley. Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley are right on the edge of heavy snow and heavy ice. We’ll get a mix of both.
- Tuesday: rain showers
- Wednesday morning: rain
- Wednesday evening: rain to ice
- Wednesday night: ice
- Thursday morning: ice to sleet/snow
- Thursday afternoon: sleet/snow
- Thursday night: flurries
The heaviest ice in Arkansas will be in the higher terrain of the Boston Mountains. Nearly a half inch of ice is possible. Much of Northwest Arkansas, the River Valley, and Northeast Arkansas will pick up around a quarter inch of ice. These ice totals may vary. They are trending lower at the moment because more sleet and snow are possible to mix in. That’s good news!
Travel on I-49 or US-71 in the mountains will become dangerous, especially on bridges and overpasses.
ANOTHER ICE STORM LIKE 2000 or 2009?
Short answer, no. At least not for western Arkansas. Eastern Arkansas is still a wildcard. Around Fayetteville an Fort Smith, we picked up closer to the 1.5″ in their respected storms. Power outages were widespread for over a week. This storm is likely to drop 0.25″ to 0.5″ of ice, which generally can cause numerous power outages for a couple days.
The heaviest snow will be north into Missouri and the Great Lakes. However if enough cold air moves in, we’ll get more sleet and snow than ice in Arkansas too.
It looks like much of the state will pick up at least a coating of snow.
River Valley: 1-2″
Northwest Arkansas: 4-6″
Southwest Missouri: 6-8″+
Changes in the storm track will make changes to ice and snow accumulations.
IMPACTS TO EXPECT
- Power outages
- Roads slick to impassable
- Tree damage
AFTER THE STORM
Wind chills are likely to drop below zero by Friday morning, but sunshine and 40s this weekend should begin to melt all of the wintry weather.
2021-2022 Winter Forecast