Record low temperatures are in the forecast beginning Sunday for central Arkansas and Faulkner County.
Meteorologists with the National Weather Service of Little Rock predict lows of 10 and 9 degrees Sunday and Monday.
The cold front enters the northwest section of the state Saturday afternoon and will make its way across Arkansas.
Saturday’s high is 48 degrees with a low of 30 degrees, and temperatures are set to fall overnight Saturday.
Chris Buonanno, science and operations officer for the National Weather Service, said Friday if the forecast holds, low temperatures will break the area’s previous record from 1988.
Monday’s high temperature tops out at 18 degrees Fahrenheit, which would beat the historically low high temperature of 25 degrees recorded 26 years ago in Faulkner County.
Rain is predicted Saturday, and precipitation is expected to change over to snow Sunday, with a 90 percent chance mainly before 2 p.m. Sunday.
Snow accumulations may be a dusting up to an inch, according to John Robinson, NWS warning coordination meteorologist.
Precipitation should move out of the state by early Sunday afternoon.
Temperatures will continue to drop after snow falls, so where accumulations do occur, hazardous driving conditions are expected, Robinson warns.
Bitterly cold air and wind will bring wind chill advisories for much of the state, and a wind chill warning is possible for the north part of Arkansas.
Wind chill values for the central part of the state will be near zero.
The NWS predicts colder than normal temperatures for the rest of next week, as Friday’s high is still in the 40s.
County and fire department officials issued public safety reminders for the extreme cold, including warnings about using alternative heating sources.
Conway Fire Department Assistant Chief Mike Winter said residents should avoid using alternative heating sources such as stove tops, ovens, open flames and space heaters.
The use of such heating sources can increase the potential for fires, while using an open flame can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning, Winter said.
Standing water is expected to freeze with these predicted temperatures, but Winter said the ice is unlikely to support a person’s weight, making it dangerous for crossing.
County Judge Allen Dodson said in advance of the weather it is important to remember to check on elderly members of the community as well as the very young or sick.
“Although the temperatures are already low, if you have seen the weather forecast you are aware that Faulkner County is expected to encounter dangerously low temperatures over the next few days. Please take proper precautions now for yourself and those around you,” Dodson said. “Above all, use good judgement. You might save a life.”
Domesticated animals may die in these cold temperatures, according to representatives from the Conway Animal Welfare Unit, and they should be provided shelter inside the home or another heated place.
If an animal is left outside, it should be kept in a heated shelter or dog house.
Light fixtures with a 100 watt light bulb can be used with caution to heat a dog house, but the animal should be inside the home, animal control officials said.
Water bowls will freeze quickly, and animals and pets may die of dehydration if water is not changed frequently.
Basic cold weather precautions
Check on the sick and elderly. Ensure that their heater is working and that they have adequate fuel supply.
Bring pets inside during winter weather. Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas with non-frozen drinking water.
Keep cell phones fully charged in case of electricity loss.
Have heater, chimneys and flues inspected and maintained properly to reduce fire hazard and risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Insulate water pipes and allow faucets to drip to prevent pipe freezing.
Ponds may freeze, but ice might not be thick enough to support human weight. Do not walk on ice or frozen ponds.
Carry a blanket and extra coat in vehicles in case of breakdowns or other incidents.
To prevent fuel line freezes, keep gas tanks full in vehicles and use fuel additives to dissipate water in the fuel.
Extreme cold will cause a weak car battery to fail when it is needed most. Have the vehicle’s battery tested.
Prevent the risk of deadly carbon monoxide poisoning by using only traditional home heaters. Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal burning devices inside a home or other enclosed area. Keep such devices outdoors and away from doors, windows and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to flow indoors.
Keep a working carbon monoxide detector inside the home.
Never leave a vehicle running while it is parked in a garage, even if the garage door is open.
Never plug a space heater into a power source that is not the direct outlet.
(Staff writer Courtney Spradlin can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 505-1236, or on Twitter @Courtneyism. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)