The first night of autumn? Weather forecast a little cooler for Arkansas

Arkansans can expect cooler weather in the coming days and next week as fall sets in, although they will see more “summer” temperatures during the first half of the weekend, according to the National Weather Service.

Fall officially begins Thursday night. Temperatures in central Arkansas will dip into the lower 60s, with some areas dropping into the upper 50s, said Jeff Hood, a meteorologist with the North Little Rock Weather Service.

“That’s about 10 to 15 degrees colder than we’ve seen the past few mornings, so it looks like it’s going to be a lot more fun, and for a while it’s going to feel like it’s falling down there this evening and night,” he said.

However, highs on Friday will range from the upper 70s across northeastern Arkansas to the upper 80s and lower 90s across the southern and western parts of the state. In central Arkansas, temperatures in the mid-80s will rise higher, according to Hood.

“It’s only going to get worse, unfortunately,” he said.

While the meteorologist said Saturday will start in the 1960s, most of the state will reach over 90 degrees in the afternoon. It’s expected to climb south, west, and central Arkansas into the mid-1990s with some spots “even running up to 100 degrees or so.”

“We’re just now starting to transition from summer to fall, and it’s not all at once,” Hood said. “We usually get these little tastes of fall, maybe dip back into the warmer temperatures, and then eventually, October and November, as we get better potential for cooler weather across the region.”

Low temperatures are expected to reappear Sunday through early next week for most of the state, Hood said.

“Especially with the passage of time next week, it looks like things will be more comfortable outside, where it is expected that there will be a strong and cold front,” he said.

Temperatures will mostly be in the 70s and 80s Monday through the middle of next week. With cooler, drier air in place, overnight lows will dip into the 50s in central Arkansas and some parts of northern Arkansas will dip into the upper 40s next week, Hood said.

Hood said the possibility of heavy rains across much of the state is “one thing missing from the forecast.”

There will be a few rains on Saturday and Sunday as the next cold front comes.

“Other than that and continue through the next week, it doesn’t look like there will be any rain across the state,” he said.

According to a tweet from the Weather Service, temperatures were reported in the low to high 30s across western and northern Arkansas, and in the mid-30s to 40s elsewhere, on September 22, 1983.

“For most of September so far, it’s been unusually hot, and September is clearly one of the driest months in all of Arkansas typically, but this was very dry or even drier than usual,” Hood said.

On Wednesday, temperatures reached 101 degrees, breaking the previous record of 100 degrees on September 21, 2005.

This is the 18th time Little Rock has reached or exceeded 100 degrees in 2022, Hood said.

When asked how the weather drastically changes from hot to cold in the course of a day, he explained that it is because of the air masses that pass during this time of the year.

“It’s basically when we have a collision between hot and cold,” he said. “I mean June, July and August, we expect it to be hot and there will be storm systems coming in every now and then and maybe make things cooler, but we are starting to get to that time of year where the angle of the sun gets lower, more cold air coming in from the northern part is dislodged of the world and begins to make its way south.”

Hood says September weather can be unpredictable.

“Some people are excited about the fall of everything—the changing of leaves, the cooler temperatures, the coffee-related elements, other things like that, but really September is an extension of summer for most of us here in Arkansas.”

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