Winter storm expected to hit Fayetteville

A city truck with an attached snow plow clears snow on Garland Avenue near the University of Arkansas campus during a record-breaking snowstorm in February 2011.

Photo: Todd Gill, Flyer staff

Soak it up while you can. This nice warm weather will soon come to a halt.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for Northwest Arkansas ahead of expected rain and cold weather on Thursday.

Forecast for Thursday, Dec. 5

Service officials said a wintry precipitation will likely develop Thursday morning with a break in the afternoon. Another round of moderate to heavy snow, sleet and freezing rain is expected Thursday night and Friday morning.

Up to an inch of sleet could fall Thursday with ice accumulation of less than one quarter of an inch. An inch or two of snow could follow on Friday.

City officials have invested in a couple of new solutions for dealing with severe winter weather since January 2009’s massive ice storm and the record-breaking snowstorm that came in February 2011.

The Fayetteville Transportation Division now has a stockpile of a beet juice to add to the the salt-and-sand mixture workers typically spread on streets before a snowstorm. Adding beet juice can lower the mixture’s freezing point from 15 degrees to zero, making it much more effective in colder temperatures.

Beet juice is becoming a popular snow and ice fighting tool in cities across the country. As an organic product beet juice reduces corrosion of equipment and is friendlier to aquatic life if it ends up in area waterways.

Workers could also get a chance to test a new flatbed truck equipped with a hydraulic underbody scraper that’s designed to remove snow and ice at high speeds.

The winter storm warning is set to last from 6 a.m. Thursday until 6 p.m. Friday.