Winter storm turns deadly in Arkansas as South suffers from snow and ice
Little Rock, Ark. – The combination of cold air from the Arctic front and rising moisture from the nation’s southern jet stream brought a major winter weather event from Texas across the Appalachian Mountains to end the weekend and start the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday week.
The FOX Forecast Center warned that the mix of ice and snow could impact communities not accustomed to seeing large winter weather events that can make for treacherous travel.
A winter storm became deadly in Arkansas on Sunday after a car skidded off a highway and hit a tree during falling snow. According to the Arkansas Department of Public Safety, the 59-year-old driver was killed and a 47-year-old female passenger was injured during the crash in White County, about 50 miles northeast of Little Rock.
Dallas and Little Rock, Arkansas, and Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee, were listed in an area that could see ice and snow during the storm that began Sunday afternoon and quickly headed east.
Winter storm warnings and winter weather advisories extend from Texas and Oklahoma through Virginia into the mid-Atlantic and into northeastern and southern New England.
Millions of people along Interstate 95 on the East Coast were able to see an inch of snow after nearly two years of snowless days, including in New York City.
Winter storm warning standards for us have been renewed by the National Weather Service
Who will see the most ice?
The greatest threat of ice accumulation extends from Austin and the Interstate 35 corridor in Texas through Shreveport and the Interstate 20 corridor in Louisiana.
A wintry mix began falling Sunday afternoon across the South, including Little Rock, Arkansas.
Any accumulation of ice across the South will mean travel across bridges, viaducts and roads could be difficult, and cold air temperatures could prolong the event.
Ice accumulation was expected to remain light and below ice storm warning criteria. Even with less than a quarter inch of snow, roads were expected to be slippery, and pockets of power outages due to falling tree limbs were possible.
What is an ice storm?
Where will the heaviest snow fall?
Communities north of Interstate 20 across the South braced for snowfall.
The cities of Dallas and Little Rock in Arkansas and Memphis, Nashville and Knoxville in Tennessee were lined up to see some accumulating snow early this week.
Little Rock set a daily snowfall record when the city received 2.4 inches of snow on Sunday.
According to the FOX Forecast Center, the energy gained moisture as it moved across the South. This means parts of Arkansas and Tennessee could receive several inches of snow, potentially paralyzing travel.
The highest snowfall totals are expected to fall across parts of eastern Tennessee and Kentucky, as well as parts of Virginia and West Virginia, where between 5 and 8 inches of snow could fall by the time the storm moves out of the area.
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The last significant snowfall in Memphis was in February 2021, when more than 3 inches fell. If snowfall accumulations are at the high end of forecasts, the event could reach levels last seen in 1985, when more than 6 inches fell in the Blues’ home country.
The National Weather Service office in Little Rock was preparing to measure snow on Sunday when the wintry weather was ready to move in.
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The possibility of record low temperatures on Monday and Tuesday will ensure that freezing precipitation remains on the ground until mid-week.
Influences after the South
Computer forecast models show moisture exiting the East Coast on Monday, but its track off the mid-Atlantic could mean the difference between a few snowflakes in the Northeast or several inches of snow.
A low pressure center passing on or near the Northeast Coast could allow several inches of snow to fall in major cities like Philadelphia, New York City, and Boston.
These communities make up what is known as the Interstate 95 corridor – the most populated area in the country.
If the center of the storm system is located several hundred miles from the coast, as some forecast models show, only limited moisture will be available for the I-95 corridor, which could lead to a light dusting.
Many major cities from New York City southward are experiencing a historic lack of snowfall, with the last major event occurring nearly two years ago.