One of the ways to forecast extended warm or cold spells is to look upstream to see how the pattern is unfolding. Since temperature causes air to expand or shrink, one way of looking at how the atmosphere will unfold is using heights.
This map shows height anomalies and what catches my eye is the massive ridging that’s developing over the Pacific Northwest into Alaska. By the way, this map is for the second week of January around 13th.
As long as ridging continues in the northwest the arctic air will continue to pour south into the central United States; including Arkansas.
We’re in for a solid two weeks of bitter cold; more than likely at least the first 1/2 of January will be below normal.
I know… I know… “Will we see snow?” The short answer is: “Probably”.
Patterns like this are very favorable for winter weather since all it’ll take is the introduction of some humidity into the already cold airmass This typically happens with low pressure moving in from the southwest, and yes, there are some indications that could happen as early as next weekend. Beyond that, it’s anyone’s guess but the cold will absolutely be there.
The cold front will arrive on Monday with a steady ooze of cold air into Tuesday with a reinforcing shot of arctic air on Tuesday Night into Wednesday,.
This map shows the temperatures on Tuesday at 6pm with the cold front clearly visible across NW Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma.
The data heading into the next week is very, very cold. These graphs show just how much the cold air will affect on Wednesday with sustained cold into late weekend and the weekend.
Bottom line: It’s about to get really cold and it looks like it stays that way for a while. If some humidity comes along, winter weather (ice, snow, sleet) all seem to be a really good possibility.