It should be clear sleighing for Santa this week; even should he choose to drive.
Southwest Arkansas weather and local gas prices have fallen into alignment for the Christmas holiday season, after a stormy and wet weekend which brought some 2.4 inches of rainfall locally.
The National Weather Service in Shreveport, La., is calling for mostly sunny conditions throughout the week, but it will remain cold, with highs only in the mid-50s and lows as chilly as 23 degrees tonight. Overnight temperatures will remain below freezing throughout the week, except on Christmas night, when the mercury is expected to climb to 32 degrees.
“We've got fair weather all week,” NWS Forecaster Patrick Donaldson said.
Donaldson said rainfall totals for the area during the weekend reached as high as 3.86 inches in El Dorada, while Texarkana reported 1.41 inches and Ashdown had 1.1 inches. Reports from elsewhere were not available at press time.
Hope recorded 2.4 inches of rainfall at the University of Arkansas Southwest Research and Extension Center at Hope, which brings December rainfall totals into the plus column for the month at 5.87 inches, or 0.81 inches above normal.
The weekend storm system which swept through Hope and Hempstead County left little more than muddy county roads, but that was enough to keep county crews on call through the holiday period, according to Hempstead County Judge Wallace Martin.
“We've had a lot of problems with roads, and we can't grade them or we'll just be pushing around mud,” Martin said. “Right now, we're doing what we can. We will just have to wait until it dries out when we come back after the holiday.”
Meanwhile, neither the Arkansas State Police nor Hope Water and Light Corp. reported any major difficulties as a result of the storms.
Gas prices going into the holiday season remained relatively stable in Hope and Prescott, with a low of $2.95 per gallon reported Friday at EZ Mart at North Hervey and Holiday Drive, while $3.04 appeared to be the norm around town, according to ArkansasGasPrices.com online.
Prescott gas prices showed a low of $2.99 per gallon at TravelCenters of America on Interstate 30, with $3.05 per gallon the next-lowest at Love's on I-30, according to the website Friday.
The website showed average gas prices in Arkansas at $2.97 per gallon Friday, compared with $3.22 per gallon nationally on average. That compared to $2.98 per gallon average statewide a week ago, versus $3.22 per gallon nationally, according to the website.