Unusually cold weather is settling in for the first week of May. Highs will fall all day on Thursday with scattered showers possible. We can expect afternoon temperatures in the 40s!
Overnight lows will be close to freezing on Friday and Saturday night in Northwest Arkansas but right now appears to be borderline with lows from 33-37 in Northwest Arkansas and upper 30s in the River Valley.
What’s causing the cold? This low pressure is slamming up against a very large east coast ridge of high pressure, the energy in the upper levels has nowhere to go so the low pressure trough will essentially press against the ridge and close off the low pressure leaving this massive cut-off low in the center of the country. Upper level low pressure systems are very cold aloft and are known for not only being difficult to forecast but wobbling and meandering around a large area; in some cases even moving backwards or retrograding. This low pressure should exit sometime over the weekend but until it does, we’ll see rain chances with cloudy skies. Rain chances will be highest on Thursday night but with the low lingering in the area few scattered showers are possible at any time for the next 3 days.
There are some indications that the rain could briefly mix with snow at times on Friday. Snow has never been recorded in Arkansas during the month of May and typically climatology is strong predictor of future weather. We will be following the temperature trends closely. With temperatures above freezing at the surface and highs on Wednesday near 80 it is not likely to be a factor. That said; expect a very cold rain with overcast skies and temperatures in the 40s and 50s to wrap up the work week.