Warm-up to bring chance of severe storms, days of rain to state

Forecasters expect as much as 6 inches of rain in portions of the state through Jan. 3, according to this National Weather Service graphic.
Forecasters expect as much as 6 inches of rain in portions of the state through Jan. 3, according to this National Weather Service graphic.

Just after thawing out from the cold front that hit the state last week, Arkansas has a chance of more bad weather -- thunderstorms -- this week.

Although temperatures are expected to keep warming up this week, the state could see thunderstorms on Thursday and is in for a soggy start to the weekend, according to the National Weather Service.

Thursday could also bring strong winds or hail, said Jim Reynolds, a meteorologist with the weather service's North Little Rock office.

"We are starting to see at least low-end chances of severe weather on Thursday from the storm prediction center," Reynolds said Tuesday. "There might be some isolated storms on Friday, but we are really focusing on Thursday."

He said the weather service is not predicting an increased chance for tornadoes .

"Warmer temperatures do allow for stronger storms, but, as of right now, we aren't seeing a strong indication of a high tornado threat," Reynolds said.

Temperatures are expected to keep warming until they peak on Thursday, he said.

He said southern Arkansas could see highs in the upper 60s on Thursday, and Little Rock could see highs in the mid-60s then. He said lows could be in the mid-50s.

After the Thursday storms, widespread rain is expected in the state until Sunday, Reynolds said.

"I will tell you that we ramp up pretty quickly on Thursday with widespread rain into Friday. Things might kind of die down into Saturday and should be out around Sunday," he said, "but some places could see about three to four inches of rain."

He said Sunday allows places to dry out briefly before more rain is predicted for Monday.

Much of the state, including Little Rock, is expected to get around 2 to 3 inches of rain this week, he said.

Reynolds said that with the weather looking so wet, Arkansans should consider bringing anything that could be damaged by rain inside a house or garage, or get it covered.

"Due to the dryness earlier this year, we are still in about a 2-inch deficit of rainfall for the year," Reynolds said, "This might catch us up right in time for the end of the year. We might even end up with an above-average year of rainfall."

Reynolds said temperatures will be warm but slowly cooling down toward Sunday.

"So much moisture means it will be hard to warm up," he said.

A tweet from the weather service said meteorologists are predicting some strong storms on Monday.

"It is a little far out to be confident, so I encourage Arkansans to just keep monitoring the forecast and looking for updates as we get closer," Reynolds said.

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