Arctic Blast Strikes Region 8, but Not Much Ice or Snow

DECEMBER 1, 2006 - Posted at 5:18 a.m. CST, updated at 8:32 a.m. CST

JONESBORO, AR - An Arctic blast of cold air has roared into Region 8, but the expected freezing rain, snow and ice that many feared, or perhaps, in some cases, hoped for, never really materialized.  At least not much of it, anyway.

K8 Forecaster Chris Castleman says Region 8 has "dodged a bullet," compared to many other parts of the country.

There have been some reports of light snow and/or sleet in some of the northern and western counties of Region 8, but most other parts of the viewing area saw only rain before temperatures began making a dramatic plunge below the freezing mark.  Some light snow was reported at the K8 studios around midnight last night, but there was no accumulation.

The big story this morning is the cold temperatures (27 degrees at the K8 studio as of this posting) coupled with very strong winds.  Extreme wind gusts will be prominent throughout the day, and may already be responsible for a power outage this morning in the Bono area.  Power has since been restored in Bono.

Most schools in Region 8 are open today.

Today's high in the Jonesboro area is expected to reach only 35 degrees.

Different Story in Northwest Arkansas... (posted at 8:37 a.m. CST)

SPRINGDALE, AR (AP) - Freezing rain followed by sleet and snow has choked roads in northwest Arkansas and dozens of schools are closed.

The storm system spared most of the state, though heavy rains fell over much of Arkansas before temperatures dropped below freezing.  Some isolated flurries fell during the early-morning hours in central Arkansas.

Several inches of snow fell in the Fayetteville-Springdale-Bentonville region and local students are getting a snow day, weeks before the official start of winter.

Gusty winds are blowing across the state, making chilly temperatures feel even colder.  The National Weather Service says the winds will die down this afternoon as a high-pressure area comes to dominate central Arkansas.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)