Winter weather watch: Forecast calls for chance of snow in county

Friday, November 14, 2014

That white Christmas many hope for might be coming early this year.

According to the National Weather Service's Tulsa office, there is a 40 percent chance of snow in Carroll County on Saturday.

Joe Sellers, an NWS meteorologist in Tulsa Weather Service, said the snow might even linger into Sunday. The snowfall, Sellers said, will likely be light if it occurs. He predicted an accumulation between half an inch and one inch.

"It's just hit and miss with these type of systems," Sellers said.

If winter precipitation does hit Carroll County, it will be the first winter weather in a season many meteorologists have predicted to be severe.

"It's just our first glimpse at winter," Sellers said.

Last December, a major winter storm hit Northwest Arkansas, causing business and school cancellations lasting a week or longer. Snow and ice began falling Dec. 5 and continued through Dec. 6, accumulating up to six inches. The largest snow and sleet accumulations, according to the NWS,

occurred in Benton and Carroll counties, with Busch receiving four inches and Fayetteville receiving seven inches.

The intense weather, Berryville Mayor Tim McKinney said, was a surprise last year. This year, he hopes to get an earlier start to prepare for winter weather. "After last year's events, one thing we're doing different is trying to get an early start as soon as there's

accumulation," McKinney said.

After receiving the weekend forecast, McKinney said city officials began preparing immediately. On Thursday, McKinney said snowplows were out and ready for use if necessary. McKinney added that city workers are aware that they need to be on call if the weather becomes severe. The city, he said, has ordered a new snowplow to arrive in December.

Green Forest Mayor Charles Reece recalled last year's weather, saying that he thought the city managed the ice and snow well.

"Last year was probably the most severe winter we've had as long as I can remember and I think we did a good job making sure people could get around and what not," he said.

Reece explained that the city began plowing as soon as he snowfall began last year, keeping the roads clearer than some state highways.

To prepare for winter weather this year, the city is following the same protocol as last year. Reece noted that the city has already acquired sand and salt to use on the roads, allowing the snowplows to work as efficiently as possible.

"This weather is crazy, but we're not afraid of it," he said. "You do what you can do."

While the snowfall is merely a prediction at this point, bitter cold temperatures have already arrived. High temperatures for Berryville from Thursday through Monday were expected to range from 33 to 36 degrees, according to the NWS website, with lows ranging from 15 to 27.

While there are no shelters in Berryville or Green Forest to keep citizens warm, Reece said that Green Forest city workers encourage citizens to call in welfare checks. Police officers, the water department and meter readers are all on call to check on people if a person calls needing help.

"If someone needs something, we'll find a spot to help them stay warm. The churches have been really good as far as providing meals for people," he said. "We encourage people to take care and know if they don't need to get out, don't get out. All they've got to do is call us and we'll help them."

McKinney asked Berryville citizens to watch out for themselves and their pets during the chilly weather. "It's cold and your animals need to be inside, and they need fresh water because it'll freeze," he said.

According to the NWS, the weather will begin gradually warming up starting early next week.

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