Good Afternoon Folks! We'll fly through the short term forecast (Thursday and Friday) and focus on the weekend forecast as the models continue to show a truly epic and region wide event, one that doesn't come around often. We need to first caution everyone that the information discussed below is likely to change, although the impacts should roughly be the same as we expect power outages and region wide road closures that could lead to school closings for early next week. We have posted our first attempt of a SNOWCAST map this afternoon (see home page) with a final version coming Friday morning as we fine tune the specifics of the forecast.
Thursday and Friday feature slightly below average temps as they only reach the mid 40's both days across the lower elevations, climbing to the mid - upper 30's across the ridgelines. Sunshine starts the day Thursday and a front will cross the region closer to sunset, prompting another round of light snow for the TN line overnight into Friday. Places like Cataloochee Ski Area could pick up another dusting to an inch, with temps overnight into Friday dipping into the low - upper 20's depending upon elevation. Friday offers up increasing clouds as moisture from the winter storm approaches out of the southwest, with cloudy skies overhead Friday night; overnight lows into Saturday morning hold to the upper 20's - low 30's.
Saturday morning will be your last chance to prep for the incoming storm and temps will climb to the mid - upper 30's across the region, with locations closer to the Piedmont remaining colder than locations closer to the N GA state line. This is due to cold air damming, which is when a high pressure system to our northeast funnels cold and dry air down the spine of the Appalachians, damming up against the escarpment (area in which the mountains drop off to the foothills). This setup is a major player for this event as a weak CAD could lead to freezing rain and lowered snow totals, whereas a stronger CAD setup will lead to higher totals and snow falling as far south as Georgia. For now it seems the cold air intrusion will loose its strength somewhere just south and west of Macon County, hence the drop off in snow totals. Timing of the event is still up in the air with some models bringing moisture into the region as snow as soon as the mid afternoon hours Saturday but most of the models point to an evening onset, continuing throughout the night as snow into Sunday morning. Temps Saturday night will lock in and not budge much, settling into the low 30's for most of the region. As far as totals go, we are looking at a region wide average of 6 - 8" with higher amounts surpassing the foot mark along and nearby the Great Balsams and lower amounts closer to the 2 - 4" mark closer to the N GA state line. Remember, these totals are not set in stone and both the amounts and area with different ranges will change when we post our final map on Friday morning.
Snow will continue to fall Sunday, winding down during the afternoon hours and the models point to a band of deformation swinging through the back end that could provide another round of snow Sunday night into Monday. Temps Sunday only reach the mid - upper 30's, so not much wiggle room from the overnight lows and most of the snow that falls will stick around through early next week, hence the belief that school closures are likely next Monday and Tuesday.
We will provide much more detail Friday morning as we enter the 24 hour model period but begin preparations and be sure to check in on your neighbors throughout the event! See you all on Friday!