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North, central Arkansas to see light snow, freezing temperatures

By ArkansasOnline

This article was originally published January 3, 2014 at 8:10 a.m. Updated January 3, 2014 at 12:19 p.m.

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National Weather Service forecasters said a cold high pressure system pushing its way across the state Saturday will bring light snow and below freezing temperatures.

A cold front pushing its way across the state will bring below-freezing temperatures and light snow to central and north Arkansas starting Saturday, the National Weather Service said Friday.

Precipitation starting as rain Saturday night will later transform into snow Sunday morning in areas of north and central Arkansas, said John Robinson, the weather service's warning coordination meteorologist in Little Rock.

Snow will accumulate to between 1 and 3 inches in north Arkansas, with parts of Northwest Arkansas possibly receiving more, Robinson said. Areas south of a line extending from Mena to Sheridan to Helena-West Helena can expect about 1 inch, he said.

South Arkansas will receive only rain, Robinson said, and precipitation will cease in the state Sunday afternoon as the cold front moves east.

Another cold front will enter Arkansas starting Sunday night and into Monday, which Robinson said will bring "bitterly cold air." Temperatures are expected "to drop significantly" and "will likely be the coldest seen in January in several years," forecasters said.

Temperatures will range between zero and single digits in the state's north, in the teens in the central area, and between 15 and 20 degrees in the south, the weather service said.

The cold air combined with northern winds, expected to be 5 to 10 mph, will create "dangerously cold wind chill values" into early Monday morning. Robinson said wind chill advisories will likely be issued for the majority of the state. Wind chill describes the feeling of cold created by the combined effects of brisk wind and low temperatures.

The weather service said wind chill values late Sunday through early Monday will likely fall below minus 10 degrees in north Arkansas, near zero in central areas and in the single digits in the south. Low temperatures Monday night will hover near zero degrees in the north and will fall between 10 and 15 degrees in central and south Arkansas.

Wind chills Tuesday morning will be below freezing — between zero and 10 degrees in the southern half of Arkansas and between minus 10 and zero degrees in the northern half of the state, according to the weather service.

As the cold front moves east, warm air moving into the state will rise above the cold air near the ground, which Robinson calls "a recipe for freezing rain and maybe some sleet" on Wednesday. The northern half of the state would most likely be affected.

A flood warning is still in effect for areas near the Ouachita River. The weather service recommends motorists not to drive through flooded areas and to be alert to changing weather forecasts.

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