A freeze warning issued for Friday night has been extended to all of Arkansas, with light snow forecast for early next week, according to the National Weather Service in North Little Rock.
High pressure will bring cold air into the state, with temperatures in the teens predicted Friday night in northern Arkansas. Overnight temperatures in the central and southern portions of the state will be in the upper 20s, forecasters said.
Below-average temperatures will last for the next week, with lows below 40 degrees in Little Rock and throughout much of Arkansas, according to the weather service.
Meteorologists said a chance for light snow exists Monday across the northwest part of the state, although it may extend southeast toward central Arkansas.
Most precipitation is expected to fall as rain, but it could change to snow early Monday and again after sunset. Accumulation of up to half an inch is possible, but ground temperatures will remain well above freezing, according to the weather service.
No winter weather watches, warnings or advisories are expected.
The first freeze of the winter season is expected to hit most of Arkansas this weekend, forecasters said.
Sub-freezing temperatures are expected in Northwest Arkansas late Thursday into Friday, with a more widespread freeze expected Saturday morning, according to the National Weather Service in North Little Rock.
"There’s been a few places that have dropped below freezing, but they’re usually a little bit more exposed — some random place on top of a mountain," National Weather Service meteorologist Dan Koch said. "This is going to be the first significant hard freeze."
A freeze watch is in effect for six Northwest Arkansas counties, where temperatures will drop between 30-32 degrees Thursday, according to the weather service. Chillier air is expected in the region Friday night, when the temperatures are expected to dip into the teens.
In Little Rock, the metro area is expected to drop to 28 degrees on Friday night.
Koch said the number of freezes will increase as arctic air masses continue to move farther south as the winter season progresses.
"We’ve been fluctuating between warmer and cooler weather, but it's that time of year," he said. "Growing season will be coming to a screeching halt."
Forecasters encouraged residents to move potted plants inside, make sure outdoor pets have warm bedding and shelter and cover exposed pipes with installation or heat tape.