Michael and Cooler Temps
Good Morning Folks! We kick off a new work and school week today with temps roughly 5 - 8 degrees above normal as opposed to the 10 - 15 degrees above normal we have been experiencing as of late, but moisture levels remain on the higher side of normal. Temps cool down a degree or two Tuesday, holding to the mid 70's across the lower elevations each afternoon through Thursday and by Friday a fall like airmass finally pushes into the region, ending the lingering summer setup! Of course the talk of the weather community is Tropical Storm Michael, soon to be Hurricane Michael, with an expected landfall somewhere along the Florida panhandle Wednesday. The National Hurricane Center has the system pushing through the Southeast fairly quickly, brushing by our region Thursday and exiting the Carolinas late Friday morning. This fast track will keep rainfall totals tempered a bit, but we could still pick up several inches of rain, especially along the escarpment, which will be our wettest area this week. All in all, three days of early summer like conditions and then fall like temps arrive later this week, just in time for the WCU Homecoming game on Saturday.
Clouds will continue to stream overhead throughout the day, with short lived periods of sunshine but not long enough to raise temps above the mid 60's for the ridgelines and upper 70's for the lower elevations. Scattered showers will develop out of the southeast, developing along the escarpment and migrating northwest through the region, placing the bulk of today's rainfall along the SC state line where up to a half inch of rain could fall. Isolated showers will pepper the region throughout the night and although temps this afternoon have cooled down compared to this past weekend, overnight lows will generally be the same as they continue to settle into the upper 50's - mid 60's depending upon elevation.
Southeasterly flow ramps up Tuesday and may wind down somewhat Wednesday as Michael approaches the region (putting SW NC in the subsidence zone), but either way it looks like the escarpment will pick up an additional 1 - 2" of rain, while areas tucked further into the region (Bryson City, Waynesville, Cataloochee) will pick up an inch. If you live in Lake Toxaway, Cashiers or Highlands, prepare for a wet few days but also be aware that showers may become heavy and linger over a particular location for a prolonged period of time, resulting in rising creeks and streams. We don't expect any major flooding, however with the airmass so moist and southeasterly flow remaining strong, its possible heavy rainfall trains over one location. Other areas that will pick up several inches of rain include the Great Balsams, Panthertown Valley and Looking Glass area. Temps Tuesday and Wednesday push into the mid 60's - mid 70's each afternoon, dipping back into the upper 50's - low 60's each night, which is typical of a moist airmass (not much diurnal change).
Thursday could be another soaker but for now we are going with spotty light - moderate showers and stronger winds as Michael brushes by the region and as it pulls out early Friday, overall flow changes from the southeast to the northwest, pulling in a cold front that will usher cooler temps! By Friday the high for the valleys could end up only hitting the low 70's, while the ridgelines struggle to reach 60°F! This weekend will surely be cooler with highs in the upper 60's for Cullowhee and overnight lows finally settling into the upper 40's!!! We'll provide more detail on the impacts of Michael and following cooler temps sometime Wednesday morning, until then, enjoy the rain.