Public Information Statement
Issued by NWS Little Rock, AR

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Public Information Statement
National Weather Service Little Rock AR
200 PM CST Mon Dec 5 2016

December 4th through the 9th is Winter Weather Awareness Week
in Arkansas. The purpose of this week is to remind people
what winter weather can bring, and how to deal with
hazardous winter conditions. Now is the time to prepare
for the upcoming winter season.

Todays topic is the outlook for the upcoming winter.

Overall, winter around here has not exactly been cold in the
last thirty years. Since the winter of 1987-88, winter temperatures
were below average by at least a degree only six times. Readings
were above average by a degree or more thirteen times.

It was a Top 10 mild winter last year. Temperatures were roughly
four degrees warmer than usual. The only significant snowstorm
occurred on January 21st and 22nd, with up to eight inches of
powder in central sections of the state. Similar amounts occurred
on February 23rd and 24th, but only in the higher elevations of
the north and west. Otherwise, there was not much snow at all.

Interestingly, four of the last seven winters were colder than
usual. Local climatological data suggests that we may be cold
again this winter.

We are currently transitioning from a very strong El Nino to
a possible weak La Nina. This means water temperatures near the
equator in the Pacific Ocean have cooled significantly in recent
months. Since 1950, several such transitions have occurred. In
four of five transitions, winter temperatures were at or below
average across the state, and precipitation was at or above
average three of five times.

Transition Temperatures (El Nino to Neutral/Weak La Nina)
in Arkansas

Winter        Avg Temp   +/-
1959/1960       40.7   -0.6
1966/1967       40.9   -0.4
1983/1984       36.5   -4.8
1992/1993       40.9   -0.4
2005/2006       42.8   +1.5

Transition Precipitation (El Nino to Neutral/Weak La Nina)
in Arkansas

Winter         Precip    +/-
1959/1960       12.73   +0.61
1966/1967        7.83   -4.29
1983/1984       12.66   +0.54
1992/1993       12.57   +0.45
2005/2006        7.86   -4.26

While signs are pointing to a cold and somewhat wet pattern ahead,
hold on. During a textbook La Nina, colder than normal winters are
usually found up north, and it is warmer than usual in the southern
states. It is wet in the north and dry in the south.

The Climate Prediction Center, which puts out the official winter
forecast each year, is going with the textbook solution. So, in
Arkansas, the forecast calls for a normal to dry season and
temperatures in the plus category.

Whatever happens, we all know that the weather can be all over
the place in this part of the world. It can feel like spring in
January, and it can get really cold. That is an ordinary winter
in Arkansas. Do not expect anything different this time around.

If there is more precipitation than average, we will have to
watch for three things. If we are in the midst of a warm period,
be wary of severe thunderstorms, which are not unusual. If there
is a lot of rain, then flooding can become a problem. Finally,
given a well timed shot of subfreezing air, that is a recipe
for a big snow or ice storm.

There is one other thing to remember. Severe storms seem to be
the most numerous when La Nina is present. In 1999, a whopping
107 tornadoes were counted. An impressive 81 tornadoes were
generated in 2008, with 75 tornadoes in 2011. These were the
first, second, and fourth most active years on record /as far
as numbers of tornadoes/, and were also La Nina years. In two
of these years, tornadoes started spinning up in winter
/January and February/, and did not wait for spring.

The table below shows wintertime normals for Arkansas.

City            Normal High      Normal Low     Normal Precipitation
Bentonville         48.0            25.3                8.67
Eureka Springs      47.9            28.1                8.96
Fayetteville        47.7            26.1                8.85
Harrison            48.3            28.3                8.40
Mountain Home       47.9            27.5               10.30
Jonesboro           48.2            28.1               12.03
Fort Smith          52.3            31.1                8.86
Batesville          51.0            26.9               11.48
Newport             47.8            31.0               12.44
Russellville        52.9            30.6               11.59
Searcy              51.1            29.2               12.28
Conway              51.5            29.5               12.18
Mena                51.5            29.6               12.84
Hot Springs         52.4            33.3               13.30
Little Rock         52.6            33.1               12.18
North Little Rock   51.7            34.7               12.09
Pine Bluff          53.4            33.9               14.10
Camden              56.5            32.2               14.12
Magnolia            56.2            33.3               14.07
Monticello          55.4            35.6               15.30
Warren              54.8            33.4               15.84
Texarkana           56.0            35.8               12.44
El Dorado           56.6            34.8               14.27

&&

Additional information on the winter outlook for Arkansas can be
found at http://www.weather.gov/lzk/winlook1617.htm

$$

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