LITTLE ROCK, AR - A powerful winter storm will approach the Natural State on Christmas Day.
In the not too distant future, a strong upper level disturbance will develop near us Tuesday. As this disturbance gathers strength it will force a strong low pressure system to form. At this hour, computer models suggest this low pressure will pass to our south and east, which will allow arctic air to pour into the Natural State. As the precipitation interacts with this frigid air mass we'll see the rain quickly switch over to the frozen variety. Given the amount of cold air in place and the dynamics at play here, there are hints that this system won't just dump a couple inches of snow, rather, it has the potential to bring a half foot.
Majority of Christmas Day will be rainy and gloomy. The cold, arctic air won't have a chance to interact with the precipitation until the late afternoon and evening hours. In other words, the snow won't start to come down on Christmas until dinner time. The first snowflakes should hit Western/Northern Arkansas after lunch. Then as we approach sunset, Little Rock and most of Central Arkansas will begin to see the rain turn over to snow.
(Our FOX 16 snow model shows an amazing 6-10" of snow in Central Arkansas Christmas Night)
At this time, several models paint a snowy picture of 1-6" across Central Arkansas. Currently we think 2-5" of snow will come to Central Arkansas with areas west and north possibly reaching 4-8". Again, we'll continue to tinker with these numbers as the storm gets closer to our region. Local amounts in North Central Arkansas may reach as high as 10".
The bulk of the accumulating snow will arrive Christmas night as the low passes to our east. It will be fun to look at from inside your home but for fellow travelers it may be a lump of a coal in their stocking. Road conditions are expected to go downhill quickly as we approach the sunset hour and some interstates maybe impassable as you wake up the day after Christmas. The National Weather Service in North Little Rock is well aware of the situation and has issued a Winter Storm Warning for Northern Arkansas and has extended a Winter Storm Watch through much of Central Arkansas.