A rather benign period will be seen through the weekend. We will see a lot more clouds than late as Warm Air Advection continues to move moisture over a relatively cold ground. This will bring mostly cloudy skies each day. Along with the WAA, there could be enough moisture return to have areas of showers and or drizzle but any chances for organized precip looks small at this time. Temps will be mild with the warmest day of this period on Sunday.
Spring-like pattern will be seen early on in the extended period with chances for showers and thunderstorms increasing each day. Monday will be the driest day of the period with only an isolated thunderstorm possible. As we head towards mid week, a new low pressure system and associated cold front will be approaching the state. With WAA ongoing, moisture and warm air will be plentiful ahead of the system. With cold air behind the front, this will set the stage for organized shower and thunderstorm days on Tuesday and Wednesday. Looking at the set up today, timing has become a lot higher confidence. What has not is the overall thermodynamic setup. Shear profiles will be more than sufficient for organized strong thunderstorm potential but the thermodynamic layers are questionable. Cold air aloft moving in would support a hail threat but with low cape and lapse rates, this would be cancelled out. Right now this is looking to be another one of those low cape high shear setups across the natural state. Given experience in winter with previous setups, these do tend to produce at least isolated severe weather. This forecast package will include at least strong thunderstorm wording with the frontal passage on Wednesday and prefrontal storms on TUesday. Have opted to keep widely scattered wording for coverage given uncertainties that will be fine tuned in the days ahead. Regardless, rain chances do increase by mid-week.
Behind the front, Cold Air advection will be taking hold yet again. Temps will drop rapidly behind the front, yet again. There could be moisture yet again. Heard this story before right? With a subtropical ridge to the southeast and the arctic high to the north, Arkansas will be sitting between the two, with the front possibly slowing down or stalling. At the base of the trough guidance is wanting to form a low pressure in SW Texas and move it NE along the front, to the south of the state. Depending how strong the CAA is, this COULD lead to a rain to wintry mix changeover for much of the state given a much more favorable setup. HOWEVER, this is what guidance is hinting at for late in the period As we have seen all winter long, guidance has been HORRIFIC past 96 hours. I do not buy aforementioned setup at this time given CAA has tended to dry us out before we got cold enough for anything wintry but can not totally ignore it either.
This forecast package will leave a chance wording of rainfall for the state on Thursday with an isolated chance of a mix in the north. It is to note that temps for Thursday could be to warm, but lately we have seen guidance warm up as we got closer. Have opted to go above guidance given the warm up this week will help to melt some of the snowpack in the source regions needed for CAA. This will be monitored in the coming days though and changes to the forecast are likely to occur. Just another week in Arkansas Weather right??
~Chief Forecaster Derek