LITTLE ROCK — The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch for much of Arkansas later this week.
The watch is in effect from Thursday night through Friday afternoon. Forecasters say a strong cold front will move through the area Wednesday, followed by widespread precipitation on Thursday.
The front could lead to freezing rain and sleet in north central Arkansas on Thursday, according to John Robinson, warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Little Rock. Precipitation is expected to stick around central and Northwest Arkansas on Friday, while the line of freezing rain migrates into the northeast part of the state.
Depending on the amount of cold air that enters the state on Friday, Robinson said, freezing rain is possible in central Arkansas. Freezing rain and sleet could also be possible in southern Arkansas later in the day on Friday.
Robinson added that this is the earliest he can recall the weather service ever issuing a winter storm watch, which means the confidence in the forecast is high.
The precipitation will start as rain, then eventually transition to freezing rain and sleet Thursday night. Forecasters say ice accumulations of one-tenth to one-quarter of an inch are possible, along with less than 1 inch of sleet.
Snow is predicted in northwest Arkansas with the storm system.
A second round of wintry precipitation is predicted Saturday night as well.