The Mid-South is still on track for our first significant winter storm of the season Sunday night and Monday despite reaching the low to mid sixties across much of the Mid-South on this Valentine's Day.
A dry cold front moved through the area earlier today shifting the winds to the north and now arctic air is filtering into the area and will drop temperatures overnight into the teens to lower twenties tonight along with strong gusty north winds at fifteen to twenty miles per hour. Wind chills are expected to fall into the single digits by early Sunday morning.
Fortunately, most of the day Sunday will be dry but cold and windy with high temperatures only in the low to mid thirties and wind chills in the teens to lower twenties. Then, a WINTER STORM WATCH will go into effect for the entire WMC Action News 5 coverage area Sunday evening through Monday afternoon.
I encourage you to use the daytime hours Sunday to prepare for the incoming winter weather Sunday night. Make sure you have plenty of gas in the car. Add some de-icer to your windshield wiper fluid and make sure you have good wiper blades. Check your battery as cold temperatures can decrease battery power by fifty percent. Make sure your tires are inflated properly as this will give better traction on slippery streets. At home, make sure outdoor faucets are covered. If you have outdoor pets make sure they have shelter and warm bedding. If possible bring outdoor pets inside Sunday night. It's also a good idea to stock up on extra food and snacks just in case getting around Monday is difficult. Most kids will be out of school for Presidents' Day but for those with school, you'll certainly want to get up early Monday to check for closings or travel problems.
The current forecast models are in general agreement for snow primarily along and north of I-40 and sleet south of that line. Snowfall amounts could range from two to four inches in those areas, but heavier amounts are possible from Jonesboro to Dyersburg and points north and east. Sleet amounts could average a quarter to half an inch from Memphis south into northern Mississippi.
The timing for precipitation will likely begin around 9 - 10 p.m. Sunday night in northeast and north central Arkansas and then spread south and east through the overnight hours into Monday morning. Most precipitation should exit the area by midday or shortly thereafter. Some flurries are possible Monday afternoon and evening as temperatures will be cold and clouds will linger overhead. Temperatures Sunday night will fall into the mid twenties and high temperatures Monday will only reach the low thirties which will allow for whatever falls to stick and remain through the day Monday and Monday night when temperatures will again fall back into the teens to lower twenties.
Travel problems could be an issue Monday morning and again Tuesday morning depending upon the amount of sleet and snow that falls.
For now, this is my current thinking. As more details and new forecast models arrive we will pass them along. Meteorologist Spencer Denton will have the latest forecast model updates Sunday morning and afternoon. I'll be back Sunday night for the late newscast which is about the time the precipitation will start. Meteorologist Andrew Kozak and Spencer will team up to bring you the latest on the winter weather and its impact on your start to the week.
Be sure to download the WMC Action News 5 Storm Tracker app to your smart phone. You'll have the power of Storm Track Doppler 5 in the palm of your hand along with current weather conditions, hour by hour forecasts, and the latest forecast information from the WMC Action News 5 Storm Tracking Team. Also be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more weather info and updates. You can find me on Twitter @RonChilders and on Facebook.