Good Afternoon Folks! Hurricane Michael made landfall at Mexico Beach, FL at 1pm this afternoon, with max winds at 155mph, just 1 mph shy of a category 5 hurricane. Numerous structures have been flattened and stripped from their foundation due to strong winds and a 6 - 12' storm surge, so please keep those along the coast in your thoughts and prayers. Hurricane Michael will continue its march across N Florida and S Georgia, sliding across the Carolinas tomorrow and exit the region late tomorrow night. Impacts to SW NC include gust up to 20 - 50mph tomorrow, more so along the ridgelines, rainfall amounts around 3 - 4" for the immediate SC state line including towns such as Highlands, Cashiers and Lake Toxaway, while those closer to the TN line pick up 1 - 2". The cold front that is helping to push Michael to our east will sweep through Thursday late afternoon and setup clearing skies Thursday night, which will translate to dry, cool and sunny conditions Friday through Sunday. Another front is possible Monday with more showers but temps generally remain seasonal, with the biggest shock coming Friday morning as many of us wake up morning lows in the 40's!
Thursday features widespread for the region and as mentioned above totals will vary based on location, with the heaviest rain falling along the escarpment due to strong southeasterly flow banking against the sudden rise in terrain. Rainfall totals will reach 3 - 4" for areas such as Highlands to Lake Toxaway, while places like Bryson City and Cataloochee Ski Area only pick up 1 - 2". Of course cloudy skies will be overhead and temps will be tempered a bit by the on and off shower activity, only reaching the mid 60's along the ridgelines and climbing to the mid 70's throughout the valleys. Temps begin to take a plunge toward seasonal levels sometime around 10pm as the front pushes through, bringing overnight lows into the low - upper 40's depending upon elevation!
Friday through Sunday feature absolutely perfect weather as sunshine sits overhead and temps only reach the low 50's along the ridgelines and upper 60's throughout the valleys. Overnight lows continue to settle into the low - upper 40's each night under clear skies.
Another round of rain is likely Monday and Tuesday with temps slightly warmer than this weekend, perhaps only reaching the 70°F in Cullowhee and other valley towns, but we'll fine tune this portion of the forecast on Friday morning when we return for another update. Until then, enjoy the rain and perhaps crack the windows open Thursday night to enjoy the fall like temps!