Our viewing area will be a battleground between significant ice with snow for some and little more than just a cold rain for others.
Benton County: Initially starting as rain, but quickly changing to freezing rain. Because temperatures will be close to or below the freezing mark while the heaviest precipitation is falling, this is where the most significant icing is expected. This is where we will have the highest risk of ice accumulations over 1/2″ as well as a higher risk of power outages. A changeover to snow will also be a little sooner here, with about 2-4″ of snow on top of the ice. Some spots on the Oklahoma or Missouri border could exceed 4″. How much snow that falls is still a bit in question, but confidence is high that icing will be a problem.
Fayetteville area: Temperatures will be above freezing a little while longer than Benton County, so ice accumulations probably not quite as high, but it will still be a problem both on the roads and powerlines as temperatures drop below freezing by the middle of the day. Lesser amounts of snow accumulations are expected, around 1-2″ on top of the ice. Again, how much snow that falls is still a bit in question, but confidence is rather high that at least freezing rain will create problems.
Fort Smith area: It is expected to remain above freezing Tuesday morning while the heaviest rain falls. The subfreezing air will come in about the same time the heaviest precipitation begins to lessen, thus reducing the ice accumulations compared to areas just the north and west of Fort Smith. There still will be a narrower window of some freezing rain or a brief wintry mix before precip tapers to flurries. However, the bust potential is a lot higher for Fort Smith. It is important to point out that Eastern Oklahoma (Sallisaw, Stigler, Vian, etc.) will probably see more ice and snow than Fort Smith. The risk of accumulating ice and snow decreases even more as you head further south and east of Fort Smith.
Damon Shaw, 40/29 Meteorologist
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