Cold air grips Arkansas

Posted: January 24, 2014 at 7:08 a.m.
Updated: January 24, 2014 at 10:55 a.m.

Arkansans awoke Friday to subfreezing temperatures across the state, including in some areas where wind-chill advisories and hard-freeze warnings were in place.

At 6 a.m., the temperature in Little Rock was a frigid 13 degrees. But some spots were even colder: Fayetteville was at 0 degrees, Harrison was at 1 and Jonesboro was at 6 degrees.

Monticello and El Dorado were among the warmer spots in the state at 21. That was 16 degrees colder than it was in Anchorage, Alaska.

"Extra caution should be taken if doing outdoor activities," the National Weather Service warned in a statement.

Parts of southwest Arkansas were under a hard freeze warning through 9 a.m., while parts of Northwest and southeast Arkansas were under wind-chill advisories.

The Salvation Army at 1111 W. Markham St. will open its dining room to the public as a warming center and will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. The organization said it anticipates opening next week as well for the forecasted, below-freezing temperatures.

The weather service also warned of an elevated risk of wildfires, particularly in northern parts of the state, because of low afternoon relative humidity, high winds and dry conditions.

"These conditions will make it easier for fires to start and spread," the weather service said in a statement. "Outdoor burning is strongly discouraged."

A Red Flag warning of a "dangerous combination of weather conditions and dry vegetation ... favoring rapid growth and spread of any wildfires" was in effect for Northwest Arkansas. A fire weather watch was in effect for a large swath of the rest of northern Arkansas.

More than 30 counties were under burn bans Friday and much of the state was listed as under a high risk for wildfires, according to the Arkansas Forestry Commission.