Saturday, February 21, 2015

The last week of February brings... more snow and cold!?!

Wow, what a week!  It's like winter showed up as soon as the rodent popped his head up out of his hole on February 2! Somebody whack that guy!

It's been a cold winter, but we've been dry. That changed this week with multiple icy systems that nearly provided most students in the area with another week-long "winter break" just a few weeks before spring break!


Many people were surprised by the cold temperatures during the day today after highs were predicted in the mid 50s. Technically the forecast wasn't wrong - it was 58 around 8am today. It just started dropping a few hours faster than we thought! Most of the day was spent in the upper 30s to lower 40s with periods of heavy rain. In fact, over 2" fell at MWN since midnight last night, plus the nearly 1/2" we got yesterday.

Now that the end-of-week system is behind us, it's time to look ahead - to more cold and another shot of winter weather! Yeah, seriously...

Sunday cold

A strong north wind and abundant cloud cover will make Sunday feel very cold. Temperatures only bottom out near freezing tonight but they don't climb much tomorrow. Highs will be in the upper 30s with north wind gusting at 25-30 mph, keeping wind chills well down into the 20s. You'll definitely notice it as you head out tomorrow.

Sunday night snow

Sunday night is the next chance of winter weather as a disturbance in the force moves across the Mid-South. With all the focus on the Friday event, this one snuck up on most of us. However it's looking fairly likely that light snow will fall Sunday late evening (after 8pm) into the overnight hours, ending by dawn Monday. How much?  The NAM4 and GFS (shown below) are very similar indicating that the heaviest will be across west-central AR, but that we could see around 1/2".

Sunday night forecast snowfall amounts per the mid-day GFS computer model. Graphic courtesy WxBell.

Sunday night forecast snowfall amounts per the mid-day NAM computer model. Graphic courtesy WxBell
With temperatures falling through the 20s overnight and a cold ground surface in place, there is definite concern that the snow will stick, possibly to roads.  The factors that might prevent that are that it will be a very dry fluffy snow and wind will still be howling at 20-30 mph. It might just blow around rather than sticking to roads. In fact, with the wind and snow, we could have an all-out "flizzard" (flurry-blizzard) during the night Sunday. [UPDATE Sunday, 7:15am -- There is some evidence to suggest the precipitation will start as a wintry mix (perhaps sleet/snow) with a small amount of ice possible at onset. This would most likely occur between 7pm-midnight before precipitation becomes all snow.]

Monday #StupidCold

As for those conditions Monday morning, it's a given that it will be #StupidCold again. Lows will be near 20 with a north wind huffing and puffing will mean wind chills at the bus stop (predicated on "winter break" not being extended yet another day) will be in the single digits. Monday's highs, meanwhile, don't get above 28 with wind chills remaining in the teens. [UPDATE Sunday, 7:15am -- A brief period of snow flurries is possible again late Monday afternoon.]

Rest of the week

For the rest of the week, the southern stream remains active as the arctic jet stream remains to our south. That will mean cold air continues to blanket the region to close out the month. With the jet to our south, any disturbances that come through could mean additional chances of light snow. Right now, we haven't pinpointed any particular time that could happen past Sunday night, but there are a few coming - we just don't have a handle on exact timing yet. Let's hope that March bring better weather than February did! The good thing is sun angles are getting higher, daylight is getting longer, and we'll eventually head towards a more spring-like pattern. It can't come soon enough! Thunderstorms are better than thunder freezing rain!

Stay warm,

Erik Proseus
MWN Meteorologist

Follow MWN on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+
Visit on the web or on your mobile phone.
Download our iPhone or Android apps, featuring StormWatch+ severe weather alerts!


Anonymous said...

I like your humorous reporting style (despite the gloomy, icy outlook)!

Meteorologist Erik Proseus said...

Thank you! Trying to laugh so we don't cry! :-)