The National Weather Service is expecting Spring to get nasty beginning tonight.
Although, Hope and Hempstead County need the rain which the NWS forecasts at an 80 percent likelihood Wednesday and Wednesday night, the accompanying wind and chance of severe weather are another matter. With year-to-date rainfall totals below normal by 5.6 inches, and only 2.24 inches of rainfall in March, the 1.10 inch which the county received on April 1 was no joke.
The weather system which is expected to cross Arkansas beginning tonight will by that time extend across almost the entire Central United States, and is expected to result in significant snowstorms today from Wyoming, Colorado, western Nebraska and western Kansas, which will move into the Ohio Valley by Wednesday.
And, with the NWS in Shreveport, La., warning of more than simple rainfall for the period from tonight through the day Thursday in Arkansas, the prospects for nasty weather have been enough to move a planned dedication ceremony for the AEP/Southwestern Electric Power Co. John W. Turk, Jr., Power Plant from the plant site in Fulton to Hempstead Hall on the University of Arkansas Community College at Hope campus Wednesday.
“We are sorry for this late change. However, we could not ensure everyone's safety under tents in the event of high winds,” AEP/SWEPCO spokesperson Kacee Kirschvink said in an e-mail to prospective attendees of the invitation-only event Monday.
The NWS issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook for all of Southwest Arkansas, effective today and extending through Thursday night.
“Daytime heating will contribute to moderate instability as large scale forcing and wind shear increase ahead of the cold front, bringing a threat for damaging wind, large hail, and isolated tornadoes beginning early Wednesday morning and continuing through Wednesday night,” the NWS said. “In addition, locally heavy rainfall will be possible, especially across Soutwest Arkansas and North Louisianaa.”
Temperatures during that period will drop from a projected high of 79 degrees today to a high of 62 degrees on Thursday, according to the NWS.
“It looks like you could easily get one to two inches of rainfall,” NWS Shreveport, La., Senior Forecaster Bill Adams said this morning. “It will definitely be a good rain producer, especially during the day tomorrow throughout the entire Four States region. But, a lot of the severe weather will be just ahead of the cold front.”