Eyeing a Second Rain - Snow Event

December 2, 2020

THURSDAY (12/3) MORNING UPDATE: Nothing major, but I wanted to pop in and provide an update regarding the rain and snow event Friday into Saturday. It looks like rain totals will average out to 1.25" across all of SW NC (Fri AM - Sat AM), with several sites along the N GA and SC state lines surpassing the 1.5" mark (Highlands should break past the 130" mark for the year). Rain coverage increases from isolated at sunrise to widespread and heavy by the evening hours, with coverage and intensities dropping off during the pre dawn hours. It will be windy throughout the day with speeds around 10 - 20mph and gusts up to 35mph during the evening hours and temps will warm to the mid 50's across the valleys. Temps do a quick dive during the pre dawn hours, allowing rain to turn to snow along the TN line and NW facing ridgelines above 4000'. Snow totals look light at this time, perhaps a few inches at most for the Smokies and a dusting up to a half inch for Cataloochee Ski Area (they are doing just fine after 6" of natural snow and several feet of manmade). Snow ends by the late morning hours on Saturday and NW flow continues, holding temps to the upper 40's under clearing skies for the lower elevations. I'll stop here and circle back Friday morning. 

 

Good morning folks! The past 48 hours have been pretty active going from regionwide rainfall to our deepest cold snap of the season, coupled with impressive snow totals for the usual suspects in a NW flow snow event. There were some extreme totals from the 11/30 - 12/1 snow event, with the highest found along the Cherohala Skyway by NCDOT at 15"!!! Other impressive totals range from 8 - 11" along the TN line in the Smokies, 3 - 4" in Balsam and along the Great Balsams, several inches in northern Haywood county, and a dusting as far southwest as Sylva. Check out the banner picture on the home page for the NWS post storm analysis map showing snow totals from various trusted/confirmed sources.

 

We'll begin to thaw out today after a frigid start with temps in the single digits above 5000' (teens across the valleys) warming to low 40's - low 50's depending upon elevation (a degree or two shy of normal) under sunny skies. As we move into the overnight hours we'll continue to enjoy clear skies with near calm winds and this will result in colder temps across the valleys compared to the ridgelines; mid 20's - low 30's respectively.

 

Thursday will be another pleasant day across SW NC with temps climbing to the mid 40's - mid 50's depending upon elevation under mostly sunny skies. A few clouds will be begin to develop as we near sunset and this is due to a shift in the overall flow from the west to the south, helping to bring moisture to the region and setting the stage for our next round of rain and snow. Temps will be capped to the mid - upper 30's overnight into Friday as clouds fill in across the area, with isolated showers possible by sunrise.

 

Friday and Saturday are not a lock at this point because of some differences in the modeling but it does look like we'll experience a round of rain (possibly heavy) Friday into Friday night, turning to snow on the backside much like we experienced this past Sunday evening into Tuesday morning. Details are still fuzzy at this point and likely to change, even with us 2.5 days out from the onset of the event, but this is not unheard of when dealing with upper level lows. Temps Friday hold to the low 40's - mid 50's and with rainfall overhead most of the day, this should make for a miserable end to the work and school week. Temps drop to the upper 20's - upper 30's overnight into Saturday morning with a cold rain continuing up till the pre dawn hours above 4500'. Sometime Saturday morning rain will kick over to snow for the higher elevations, but as this occurs coverage will begin to scale back to the TN line and favored NW flow locations, so don't get too excited if you are hoping for a different setup than the one we had earlier in the week. Temps Saturday will be cold, only hitting the upper 30's - mid 40's depending upon elevation with snow along the TN line till midday, while sunshine unfolds across the rest of SW NC.

 

On the backside of this event we should get another dose of sunshine Sunday into next week, but we'll stop here before going any further into details. We'll likely do a quick and short discussion Thursday late afternoon to make sure all of the details regarding the Fri - Sat event are nailed down and perhaps post another SNOWCAST Map! Enjoy the sunshine!

Weather Highlights

Warmer Thursday, highs in the upper 50's under sunny skies. 

Isolated showers start out the day on Friday, becoming widespread and heavy by the evening hours and ending as light snow Saturday morning for parts of SW NC. 

This will be a light NW flow snow event, favoring the usual spots while wind whipped flurries fall across portions of the area; 2 - 3" in the Smokies, half inch possible at Cataloochee. 

Highlands set it's own annual rainfall record on Nov 12th (125.58") and is aiming to beat the NC Annual Rainfall Record of 139.94" set in 2018 atop Mt Mitchell! 

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