ARKANSAS WEATHER WATCHERS Hello Arkansas! Summer is still poppin’ across The Natural State. Transition from summer to fall will e...ventually manifest as always does. This Fall & winter, the story line is the Strong El Nino’ in the east Pacific. Its peak warmth is projected to be late fall & early winter. What’s this have to do with Arkansas you say? Well, in the past it’s made some huge impacts on our state. The past 4 winters we’ve seen some extreme winter storms across the state. In 2011, near the University of Arkansas on February 9th, almost 26” of snow fell in Washington County. Most of it falling in 12 hours. Smashed all-time records. The morning of February 11th, Fayetteville recorded its All-Time low temperature of -18 degrees Fahrenheit. Ouch!! Moving on, On December 25th 2012, central Arkansas saw its biggest snowstorm since 1987. From 10-16” fell from the Ouachita’s to Jonesboro. Onward we go. The winter of 2013 on Dec 5th and on March 2nd, the northern 2/3 of the state received extreme sleet storms. Lightning & thunder rumbled as sleet piled up in place. North Arkansas recorded snow in May for the 1st time in state history. Last year, central sections saw snow on November 15th. That’s the earliest snow since 1991. However December & January where quite normal. But on February 15th, a huge winter storm affected the state. For 13 hours, Central and northeast Arkansas received very heavy freezing rain to sleet to finally snow. The past 4 winters have been pretty brutal to say the least. I do not believe we will see any prolonged cold snaps this year. The last 4 winters, a northwest flow aloft kept Arkansas below normal, but the pattern this year will be more from the Pacific. We should receive lots of cloudy days in the 50s. Cold air surges will happen but not as much as we’ve seen in the past. There is a chance though if cold air is already in place and a storm system approaches then we will see a significant winter storm but the odds are low for that scenario, but don’t count it out. Most importantly from mid-October to February, the chances of a severe weather outbreak are higher this year compared to the previous 5. January 21, 1999 and February 2nd 2008 are Arkansas’s biggest outbreaks in the last 20 years and both have happened in the winter time. Expect an Indian summer, with 1st freeze around November 15th. The best shot of a winter storm will be from February to the 2nd week of March. But it can and more than likely will have a winter storm before then. Just because El Nino is here doesn’t mean it will dictate our weather for Fall & Winter. Weather patterns change often & countless variables will be in play. The one thing I’m afraid is a tornado outbreak sometime this winter but let’s pray that doesn’t happen. So overall, not as many cold spells, pacific air will be in place for most of the winter but one key note. The Gulf of Alaska’s water temps. If they stay above normal throughout this winter then that will mean colder shots/winter weather chances. The severe weather side, however, is heightened this year and the shot of a significant winter storm is lowered but that doesn’t mean it will not happen this winter. ~Jason FALL WINTER 2015/2016 OUTLOOK:
Everyone by now has heard of the El Nino winter and how strong it will actually be. This pattern typically produces warmer winters up north and cooler down south, especially with the strong ones. This year we will be under the influence of El Nino but just how strong will be the question. Typically in Arkansas with El Nino fall and winter are divided with severe weather and snow, with lots of ice. There are also very mild days. This year looks to be no exception. As we head into the fall, things look to become very active. The Tropical Pacific is playing a role in our weather in the short term. Multiple Hurricanes and Typhoons are setting up a cold pool to be driven south through the eastern 2/3 of the nation. The west looks to remain warm. In Arkansas, this generally is accompanied with an active severe weather season as warm and cool.clash. Looking at past years and data from them, comparing to similar El Nino years, we can expect a cool and wet fall, with a fairly active severe weather season, especially in the latter parts of fall as we head towards Halloween and Thanksgiving. Winter will also see its fair share of severe weather but winter weather events look to be more common than severe weather, however an early Spring severe season is possible. Remember some of our largest outbreaks have occured in winter. Overall, fall will not be as extreme as it was last year with temps plummeting into the 20s and snow showers in November. Below is your outlook for the fall months. Remember one hiccup in the pattern will change everything. But if you like cool and wet, get ready its coming. SEPTEMBER: TEMPS: Starting off with a typical summer time pattern with heat and humidity, by mid month, temps fall gradually below normal with highs topping out in the 70s by months end. OVERALL: AVERAGE TO SLIGHTLY BELOW AVERAGE PRECIP: September will.start off dry with a gradual.increase in moisture as cold fronts begin to work down from the mid-west. Gulf will be in full swing early.on with plenty of moisture, putting an end to short term drought by months end. With Gulf moisture interacting with cool air from the north, severe weather threats will.increase by months end. OVERALL: SLIGHTLY ABOVE NORMAL.PRECIP. OCTOBER: TEMPS: October will be the battle month. There will be warm and humid and cool and dry. As we head towards Halloween, things will cool.off up north, while the south will.be fighting the seasonal changes. This temp contrast will be seen alot with the passage of frontal.boundaries looks to lead to better chances of severe weather potential. Temps will average 70s for highs and 40s for lows, with some warm days and some cool nights. OVERALL: AVERAGE TEMPS PRECIP: October is usually one of our more wetter months, and 2015 looks to be no exception. October could very well be the wettest month by far of the year, or very close. Continous frontal.passages with warm Gulf moisture overriding cool surface air will.lead to several.rainy days. Ahead of these frontal passages, severe weather threats could be seen and will be quite common in October. Cooler and rainy could also limit these chances. OVERALL: ABOVE AVERAGE PRECIP NOVEMBER: TEMPS: November is eveyones favorite month when it comes to getting ready for the holidays. Everyone like cool and even cold. November looks to.please in this category. Look for a first frost in Northern and West Arkansas by the 15th. Temps will be below average but not to extreme and there will be plenty of warmer days to go around. November will start off fairly chilly. By mid month we should see a stretch of above average temps. Then by Thanksgiving, say hello to winter. 40s for highs and 30s for lows look to be the norm.by months end with south Arkansas in the 50s. OVERALL: BELOW AVERAGE TEMPS. PRECIP: November is usually an all type precip month, especially north. Some of the state will see snow some ice but most rain. This year, dont expect much snow in November. Yes it will be chilly, but not to bad for the fall. Best chance to see any early wintry precip will be along the Missouri line. If the Arctic opens up sooner, then this could change. Rain and cool looks to be the norm for November. There will.be a period of dry weather, allowing some warming to occur. There could be some severe weather this month but any chances look low. OVERALL: AVERAGE TO SLIGHTLY ABOVE AVERAGE PRECIP. SEVERE WEATHER CHANCES WINTER: Typical El Nino winters see more severe weather than winter weather. We dont feel that will be the case this year. Winter will see its share of warm days. Severe weather will.most likely accompany any huge change in temps. Best chances of severe weather will be in December and February as the season is changing. OVERALL SEVERE WEATHER CHANCES: AVERAGE. Winter 2015-2016: This winter looks to be very interesting as we head towards December into February. Now i have made three maps that shows what i think this winter will turn out. The southern U.S. looks to be the prime active area this winter either it's severe weather or winter weather. Here in Arkansas, looks to be below average as far as temperatures go thanks to the active Subtropical jet stream. And for precipitation, looks to be above average for us. Now something to keep an eye on as we go through the winter months. If the Gulf of Alaska's water temperatures stay right at or above normal then that will promote ridging and will cause the arctic air to be dislodged to the SSE. Now this will not happen all the time during this winter but when it does and especially if we get a descent snow pack across the Midwest then those shots will be pretty brutal. If it happens more often then it will throw a wrench in everyone's winter outlook.
~Cameron Winter weather/tropical analyst
~Jason severe weather analyst/chase expert
~Derek Founder/Senior weather analyst