Archive for October, 2011

Wednesday’s Cold Front…
October 31, 2011

The typical fall pattern continues across the region.  Another cold front is set to arrive during the late afternoon/evening on Wednesday.

Ahead of the front expect highs in the 70’s for Tuesday.  Breezy south winds and sunshine will fuel the quick warm-up. 

Dry to start on Wednesday, but showers and storms are forecast to develop during the afternoon and evening.  The cold air will follow for Thursday morning.  The rain should be done for the Thursday morning commute.

In general rainfall totals will range between 0.25″ to 1.00″  We’ll continue to update the expected rainfall amounts over the next 24 to 36 hours for you.

Drew Michaels

Follow us on Twitter at “4029weather”

Rare October Northeast Snowstorm Recap…
October 31, 2011

After heavy snowfall from Denver to the Texas Panhandle last week, the Northeast got slammed with a very rare October snowstorm that broke nearly 200-year-old records. Not since 1804 has that much snow been recorded in October across the Northeast. Below are some of the highest snowfall totals by state:


Massachusetts: 32″ at Peru
New Hampshire: 31.4″ at Jaffrey
Maine: 20.0″ at Acton
New Jersey: 19.0″ at West Milford
Connecticut: 18.6″ at Bakersville
New York: 17.9″ at Millbrook
Pennsylvania: 16.0″ at Huffs Church, Hazleton, and Springtown
Vermont: 16.0″ at West Halifax
West Virginia: 14.0″ at Mount Storm
Maryland: 11.5″ at Sabillasville
Rhode Island: 6.6″ at West Glocester

Unfortunately because of the heavy, wet snow, trees that had not lost their leaves (yet) suffered significant damage…falling trees brought down numerous power lines, leaving AT LEAST 2.5 million people in the dark and wondering when their power will come back on.

Matt Devitt

Follow us on Twitter at “4029weather”

Trick Or Treat Forecast
October 30, 2011

There isn’t anything scary about the forecast this Halloween. Halloween itself will warm up into the upper 60s to low 70s with lots of sunshine. There may be a few high cirrus clouds at most for trick or treating. The temperatures will cool off into the upper 50s late in the evening so perhaps a jacket or extra layer on your little goblins will be needed, otherwise the weather should be perfect.

Ross Ellet

Follow us on twitter “4029weather”

2011-12 Winter Forecast
October 29, 2011

*Highlights Compared To Last Winter

We are coming off one of the harshest if not the harshest winter in the past 100 years, but this winter season will be a little different. The average temperature is expected to be slightly above average which is a few degrees warmer compared to last year. Precipitation may actually be a little higher compared to last winter. Precipitation is expected to be around average…last year rainfall amounts were below average. Snowfall is also expected to be around average this winter season. Average is between 3 and 7″ for the river valley and between 6-14″ in northwest Arkansas. These totals, while respectful for our area, is much lower than the record-breaking snow that fell last winter. Our risk for a significant ice storm is much higher than a normal winter due to the dominant La Nina pattern. Our risk for ice storms is much higher during a La Nina season compared to an El Nino or La Nada.

*Winter Forecast

Temperatures

The 40/29 weather team has been hard at work over the past few weeks putting together the winter forecast. The temperature forecast for Eastern Oklahoma and Western Arkansas this winter is for slightly above average temperatures (+1 to 3 degrees). The active storm track across the northern part of the country will lead to warmer than normal conditions across the south. Below normal temperatures are expected for the Pacific Northwest, upper Midwest and Alaska.

Precipitation & Snowfall

Precipitation across Eastern Oklahoma and Western Arkansas is expected to be near average. Snowfall is also expected to be near average. The River Valley averages about 3 -7″ of snow a year, northwest Arkansas averages between 6 – 14″ of snowfall a year with Gravette picking up the most snow with an average of 16.2″ each season. This year’s snowfall forecast is different from last season when an average of 12-18″ of snow fell in the river valley and over three feet fell in northwest Arkansas during the winter season.

Around the nation, Southern California is expected to see dry conditions while the Pacific Northwest will see very wet & snowy conditions. The Midwest will likely see seasonal temperatures but stormy conditions with above average snow this season. Exceptional drought is expected to continue across much of Texas due to warm and dry weather lasting through spring and possibly the summer.

Ice Storm Risk

Unlike last year, the average placement of the jet stream should be placed a little further to the north across the central part of the country this year. This is due to La Nina and a more average NAO (North Atlantic Oscillation). This is a more favorable pattern for significant ice storms (at least a 0.25″ of ice accumulation over a large area). In the past 60 years, the risk for an ice storm during a La Nina year was at least twice as high as any other year. In fact about 2 out of every three La Nina years produced a significant ice storm.

Severe Weather

This spring could bring an early and violent severe weather season once again. Spring will come early with severe weather possible during late February and March this year. Normally our busiest part of the severe weather season comes in April and May, but hot & dry weather could dominate by May if La Nina conditions persist.

*Ingredients Leading To This Winter’s Forecast

There are a few key factors that will impact the winter forecast. The biggest factor is the intensifying strong La Nina. This will likely become the most dominant ingredient to the upcoming winter season. Another factor is the ongoing warm & dry pattern that is currently affecting the area.  We also took into consideration the latest CFS projections (a short-term climate model). We compared years with exceptionally hot and dry summers and took a look at the following winter season. The NAO is expected to be highly variable. Last year the NAO was extremely negative and this kept the jet stream placement further south in the eastern part of the country and as a result it led to the record snow in early February. The NAO could once again be a big wild card, but overall it shouldn’t be as extreme as last year. The Gulf Of Mexico’s water temperatures are near normal, therefore the overall pattern shouldn’t be altered to the Gulf Of Mexico. Also, the deep solar minimum is over and this means more solar radiation is hitting the earth. It is still unknown how much this impacts a seasonal forecast. However it does lead to an increase in temperatures globally, and while its likely a small impact, it would lead to globally warmer conditions compared to a year ago.

*Winter’s Of The Past

After taking all of this data we found 7 years since 1950 that have had similar set ups.  These 7 winter seasons then became our analog years. The analog years are in order of similarity compared to the current and expected winter pattern this season 1954-55, 1998-99, 1999-00, 1988-89, 1949-50, 1973-74, 1975-76.

Out of these years Fort Smith averaged 8.45″ rain (0.38″ above average), average temperature 43.1 degrees (+1.7 degrees above average), and 5″ of snow (1.7″ below average).

Fayetteville averaged 8.21″ rain (1.13″ above average), average temperature 41.2 degrees (+2.7 degrees above average), and northwest Arkansas had a regional average snowfall of about 11.2″ (1.2″ above average).

A significant ice storm happened 5 out of the 7 analog years or about 71% of the years which is about 1 for every 1.4 years.

*Detailed Forecast By Month

December

December will be cold in the eastern part of the country and warm in the west with us right in the middle. A couple of brief arctic blasts are expected before moderating quickly in temperatures. All in all, it should be near average in temperatures and in precipitation for both the river valley and northwest Arkansas.

January

The overall weather pattern across the country will moderate in January. The trough will flatten across the east and a powerful pacific jet will take over dumping lots of cold & snow in the Pacific Northwest and allowing warmer than normal weather to move across our area. Temperatures are expected to be about 1 to 2 degrees above normal with average precipitation. The most interesting time frame during our analog years was during late January when an active pattern develops and snow and ice chances go up.  Below is what happened in our analog years.

February

February will likely be our most active month. A powerful jet stream will stay just to the north of our area. The storm track is favorable for more ice chances at the start of the month, however we may quickly jump from winter to spring throughout the month. An active jet stream and a strong southerly wind should bring moisture and warmth into our area frequently. This is a favorable set up for not only ice, but also severe weather in late February. Temperatures are expected to be 2 to 4 degrees above normal along with above average precipitation. Below is what happened during our analog years.

March

March is expected to be a very active month with a late season winter weather maker possible, but even more likely will be high severe weather chances. Both temperatures and precipitation is expected to be above normal. Our analog years are below. They didn’t show above average precipitation but based on other indicators and long-term modeling…a wet March seems very plausible.

April & Beyond

The analog maps show slightly below average precipitation in April, and May through August could be very dry if strong La Nina conditions persist.

Ross Ellet 

Follow us on twitter “4029weather”

Weekend Fall Foliage Report
October 28, 2011

Thanks to www.arkansas.com for the latest fall foliage report.  It’s going to be a beautiful weekend to enjoy the changing colors!


Northwest/North Central – Fall foliage is changing rapidly but still not at peak in the northern one-third of Arkansas, from the Buffalo National River north to the Missouri border. Eureka Springs reports 75% color this week with many hardwoods starting to turn. Fall foliage is near peak and glowing orange, yellow and red in the Bentonville, Rogers, Springdale and Fayetteville areas with more changes expected during the next few days.

In the Harrison area, the famous maples on the Downtown Square and at Maplewood Cemetery usually change early and they are at peak today. Arkansas 392 and Ark. 397, looping south of Harrison from Scenic 7 Byway to its intersection with U.S. 62/412 has good color today as well as Ark. 43 south to Ponca. Oaks, hickories and other varieties in the Ozark National Forest, from Harrison south on U.S. 65 and Scenic 7 Byway past Jasper and the Cliff House Inn, to around Pelsor are at 70% or more today; with more green, unchanged hardwoods from Pelsor to I-40.

On the Pig Trail (Ark. 23) foliage is spotty but changing quickly, with more color starting in Madison County and less south to I-40. Spotters in Bull Shoals and Mountain Home say there is moderate color, perhaps 70%. Further east, the Mountain View area has good color, with Ark. 5, 14 and 341 recommended. Predicted peak of color: Early November.

Central Arkansas/Ouachita Mountains – There is less color than in northern Arkansas but change is happening quickly in this area too. From Fort Smith to Little Rock, early-changing understory foliage such as sumac and dogwood trees are becoming colorful and maples are about 70% orange. Bradford Pears and other ornamentals are also starting to turn color. Oak, hickory and other varieties are starting to turn but will require several more days. Mount Magazine and Queen Wilhelmina State Parks are peaking this week with good color being reported.

In the Hot Springs area good color is also developing rapidly. Lake Ouachita State Park is reporting good color, with Ark. 192 and Scenic 7 Byway north recommended. In Little Rock, the maples around the River Market area are near peak with a vibrant orange-red color. Predicted peak of color: Early/Mid November.

Southern/Eastern Arkansas – Early changing understory varieties such as sumac, dogwood and gum trees are showing bright orange and gold. Our spotters in eastern Arkansas are reporting good spotty color on Ark. 1 north and south of Forrest City. Village Creek State Park reports spotty color with much more expected by the weekend of November 11-13. Helena-West Helena has early signs of color with more time needed. Hardwoods in the southern third of Arkansas will require several more days to peak. Predicted peak of color: Mid November.

Comments: We have a large thunderstorm passing through the state today with a cold front behind it that will cool down temperatures and accelerate color change. Hopefully the storm will not blow off very many leaves. Those who travel this weekend will find good color in the Ozarks, mixed with green hardwoods that need a few more days. Spotters in areas such as Fayetteville, Rogers and Eureka Springs report that their areas are colorful now but will likely be better by the middle of next week (November 2). Those attending the 29th Annual Bean Fest & Outhouse Races in Mountain View will see beautiful color.

Drew Michaels

Follow us on Twitter at “4029weather”

Halloween Preview! How Will The Weather Be?
October 28, 2011

With a relatively dry air mass in place for Halloween (Monday) and no significant weather systems on the way, expect a fairly enjoyable and quiet Halloween. We should be dry at multiple levels of the atmosphere during the afternoon, leading to a picture perfect day with also comfortable temperatures ranging from the lower 60s to the upper 60s. Now the big question is, how does the evening look for trick-or-treaters? The only small change I see for the evening would be an increase in cloud cover at the very upper levels of the atmosphere. For those dressing up, make sure to stay warm as temperatures will drop quickly as the sun goes down. For NW Arkansas throughout the course of the evening, temperatures will go from the lower 60s to the mid 40s. For Fort Smith / River Valley temperatures will go from the lower 60s around sunset to the lower 50s by the end of the evening. But one aspect of the forecast I’m happy to report, NO RAIN is expected. If that changes, we will update you throughout the weekend. Looks like this year luck will be on our side!

Matt Devitt

Follow us on Twitter at “4029weather”

10:30 Update…Rain Continues
October 27, 2011

Here’s the last push of rainfall.  The upper level support is now moving across the area.  The rain could be heavy at times, and another 0.10″ to 0.50″ of rainfall is possible through 2 a.m.

The tricky part of this forecast is the clearing of the clouds.  The models are trying to clear parts of northwest Arkansas after 4 a.m.  If the clouds do clear, dense fog could develop across northeastern Oklahoma and northwest Arkansas for Friday morning.

Sun and clouds for Friday with highs in the upper 50’s and lower 60’s.

Drew Michaels

Follow us on Twitter at “4029weather”

UPDATE: When Will The Rain End?? Your Thurs. Evening / Fri. Morning Forecast!
October 27, 2011

After a soggy, chilly, and dreary start to the day, the forecast still maintains a chance for rain across the entire area…just not as high as they were this morning. The clouds should stay put with the slight chance that Benton and Carroll Co. see a couple breaks in the clouds here and there…But with the rain-cooled air and all that cloud cover in place, expect high temperatures to remain below average for this afternoon. Now heading into this evening, rain chances should start to drop off for NW Arkansas to a slight chance…But for Fort Smith / River Valley, you’ll still have the chance for scattered showers and higher rain chances in comparison to NW Arkansas. After midnight though, all the activity should move off towards our East, leaving behind lower level clouds. That cloud cover, depending on *when* it moves out, will have a significant impact on overnight lows. NW Arkansas should see some of that clearing earlier on in the morning in comparison to Fort Smith / River Valley, which is why temperatures will be much cooler. If the clouds move out earlier than scheduled, some of NW Arkansas could briefly drop to either at or below freezing. For Fort Smith / River Valley, temperatures will be in the upper 30s to lower 40s to start your morning with a MUCH better Friday afternoon ahead with sunshine and highs ranging from the upper 50s to the mid 60s across the entire area!

Matt Devitt

Follow us on Twitter at “4029weather”

 

Delayed Rain Chances…Wet & Chilly Thursday!
October 26, 2011

The upper level storm system to our west continues to move at a snail’s pace.  This syetem will finally roll across our area by Thursday morning.  Look at the snow across Colorado, that’s where the disturbance is located right now.

Isolated showers are possible throughout the rest of the evening; however, the heavy rain and storms won’t move in until after 8 a.m. on Thursday.  No severe weather is expected.

Timing:

The timing of the rain will vary from north to south.  Showers and storms will likely move to the south of northwest Arkansas towards the early afternoon. 

Across the River Valley the rain will likely stick around throughout the early evening.  Rain and storms could last through 10 p.m. across the Ouachitas before moving out.

In general rainfall t0tals will range between 0.25″ to 1.00″  Expect chilly temperatures in the upper 40’s and lower 50’s for Thursday.  Sunshine returns in full force for Friday.

Drew Michaels

Follow us on Twitter at “4029weather”

Short Term Forecast
October 26, 2011

For today a cold front will be moving through dropping temperatures behind the front…showers and storms are possible during the frontal passage. Heading into Thursday, rain chances increase starting during the early morning hours and continuing for the rest of the day…Thanks to chilly air in place, cloud cover, and periods of rain, expect a dreary / raw Thursday across the entire area…Make sure to bring the umbrella and the jacket! Skies will start to clear late Thursday into Friday morning…where it should be a cold start to the day with temperatures in the 30s and 40s.

Matt Devitt

Follow us on Twitter at “4029weather”