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Fort Smith/Fayetteville News | 5newsonline KFSM 5NEWS | Get the local news and weather where you live from 5NEWS. Covering Fort Smith, Fayetteville, Bentonville, and all of Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley.

Cold weekend ahead; snow, wintry mix by Sunday

An upper level system will move across Arkansas and Oklahoma with snow likely. Warm surface temperatures will limit travel disruptions

Saturday: We'll have overcast skies in NW Arkansas with temperatures in the mid to upper 30s. In the River Valley, clouds should break enough to give way to sunshine and 40s by the afternoon. 

Sunday: This is where the forecast gets messy. Let's talk about what we DO know.

An upper level system will move across the region probably starting as rain/sleet in the mid-morning and then transitioning to snow by the afternoon.

Upper lows are extremely cold above our heads so it doesn't matter much about the surface temperatures. It'll snow regardless.

Accumulation. This is tough. If 7" falls but only 1" sticks... what should the forecast be? There's going to be a round of heavy snow in NW Arkansas. Probably around 1pm-3pm. Right now, it looks like around 1-3" will stick on elevated surfaces. It's going to have a really tough time sticking to the ground; it was nearly 80º yesterday.

As of this moment it looks like around 1-3 in NW Arkansas and less than 1" in the River Valley. This will change though depending on how the temperatures respond to the approaching low.

Travel impacts. Travel will be affected but it'll be when the snow is the heaviest. So probably in that 1pm-4pm timeframe. It's so warm that it'll melt off the roads to a slush in a few hours.

The drier air moving in combined with the warm ground temperatures should limit any refreezing on area roads. 

Expect more updates and revisions to this forecast as the situation unfolds. 

-Garrett

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