Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
posted 1 year ago
We've lived in the Arkansas Ozarks for forty four years now and I think every winter has been different.
In '73, our first winter here, it was a very warm one...lots of rain but warm enough we thought we could make it in a tent.
In '76 (might have been '75?) there was a drop in temp to eighteen below Fahrenheit ...fortunately we had walls on the house by then and a wood stove and no indoor plumbing to freeze, so survived that one all right...a little frost bite on my toes and some chickens combs froze.
We've had winters with two feet of snow, thick layers of ice, sleet and pretty regular drops to single digit temps (Fahrenheit)...
Winters here are usually wet although I remember one dry one where we went into spring with a serious drought.
One late February into March, not long ago, it warmed so much that all of the trees began leafing out and then in April we had two nights in the twenties that froze them...a lot of trees didn't recover from that.
This fall it seems to me the hard freezes came early, before many of the trees lost their leaves, and then we've had the usual warm up.
In other words winter here can be anything. Not much farther south in the state though, out of the mountains, it is more moderate.
We are noticing, where we are now, on the edge of this little town along a creek it can be ten degrees colder than the other edge of town up on the hill.
...and then there's the occasional winter tornado
"We're all just walking each other home." -Ram Dass
"Be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder."-Rumi
Like Judith says, winters in the Ozarks can be pretty unpredictable. When I lived in Fayetteville AR the entire town- businesses, buses, the university- it'd all shut down with less than an inch of snow...even if it didn't stick to the streets. Four or six inches of snow over 2-3 days may happen two or three times in an average winter, maybe once or twice in five years you'll see more than that.
The big thing is ice storms- every few years a big one rolls through and can cause a big mess. You can get an inch of ice- or more- coating everything, bringing down limbs, powerlines, and making travel a quagmire. It probably won't happen every year- but you may have two or three days a winter (on average) where you're homebound.
On the other hand, thundersnow is a pretty cool phenomena that doesn't happen everywhere. Tornadoes are a realistic threat even in winter, a couple years back we had tornadoes on New Years Day. You can have large winter floods when warm air moves north from the Gulf, when there's no vegetation to absorb rainwater, and when the ground is frozen. They're all pretty rare events though, I wouldn't consider them a real deterrent. Just something to keep in mind.
Take into consideration that the earth is in the middle of huge changes, especially what we like to call seasons.
I have data that shows that our winter, which used to start (1964) around the end of October, now starts about the middle of December, that is quite a shift for winter like weather temperatures.
As an example today is 11/28 and we have only had two minor frost events and the temps still are able to reach the 70's for mid day temperatures.
Arkansas has always been a "don't like the weather? wait 5 minutes and it will change" type of state weather wise.
Our dry season is shifting too.
These trends are world wide, not just local, so just be prepared we might have a heavy snow and ice year or not see any at all, it is a real "crap shoot" trying to make any predictions.
I live in the Boston Mountains and it gets harder and harder to know when to plant in the spring (this year we finally got spring a month after the "normal" spring planting time.
Over all I would say expect 1" or more snow at least two times from Mid December thru the end of February, March and April are monsoon season (normally) but the reality now is "who knows".