Winter weather short-lived; sunny Thanksgiving in forecast

LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas’ first wintry blast of the season turned out to be little more than a nuisance in advance of sunny skies and a warming trend expected for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, the National Weather Service said Monday.

For the most part, a wintry mix of patchy freezing rain and sleet that fell across much of the state late Sunday into Monday morning had ended by early afternoon, the weather service said.

Icy bridges and overpasses caused some accidents early Monday, primarily in western, northwestern and southwestern Arkansas, with a few minor collisions occurring in the Little Rock metro area, state police said.

Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department spokesman Danny Straessle said road crews working 12 hour-shifts salted state and interstate highways ahead of the winter weather and would be watching highways for a re-freeze Monday night.

“This was more a nuisance than a winter storm,” senior National Weather Service forecaster John Lewis said. “We’re looking for improving conditions. There could be some rain lingering over south Arkansas, but the temperatures there will remain above freezing. After that, we’re going to start clearing out.”

Wednesday still could be fairly cold with temperatures in the 30s and 40s, but the Weather Service forecast highs in the 40s to near 50 by Thanksgiving Day.

The weekend forecast called for sunny skies with highs in the 50s and lows in the 30s through Saturday, with a slight chance of rain returning Sunday.