Colder Temps; Possible Snow Saturday
Good Morning Folks! The timing of the light rain today has been pushed back about 6 - 8 hours from our previous forecast discussion on Sunday, with isolated light shower chances now lingering into the evening hours. A cold front crosses the region today, however southwesterly flow beforehand will create a blustery spring like day across the area. Once the front crosses, northwest flow takes over and cold air pours into the region, holding firm through at least Saturday. Winds pick back up Wednesday afternoon for the higher elevations, with gust up to 65mph and as high pressure moves in Thursday winds should calm down. Sunny skies sit overhead Wednesday through Friday and the models point to a low pressure system tracking overhead or nearby the region late Friday night through early Sunday. Timing is still up in the air but at this point it seems snow is possible Friday night into Saturday, kicking over to sleet late Saturday and all rain by Sunday as a warm nose intrudes from the south. Starting Wednesday and lasting into early next week temps will be at or below normal, so be sure to enjoy this last gasp of warmth today.
Isolated light shower chances hang around through the day and into the evening hours, with clouds clearing late tonight as the front exits to the east, ushering in a pattern change. Temps today hit the upper 40's - upper 50's with southwest winds around 15 - 30mph, gusting to 40mph along the ridgelines. Temps tonight will plummet into the low - upper 20's with winds shifting from the southwest to the northwest and will remain steady at 15 - 30mph, with gust up to 45mph along the ridgelines; a blustery night indeed.
Wednesday through Friday returns sunny skies to the region but with colder air pouring in we wont find much relief as temps only reach the upper 20's - low 40's tomorrow, warming to the upper 30's - mid 40's by Friday. Overnight lows dip into the teens - upper 20's each night and as we mentioned above, another high wind event will take place Wednesday night, winding down Thursday morning.
With high pressure in place Friday, providing cold and dry air to the escarpment area (cold air damming) and a low pressure system moving into the region, the stage should be set for a wintry event with several different types of preip. Granted, everything we discuss during this time frame will likely change as we near the end of the week, however the gist is for precip to start as snow late Friday night and continue into Saturday with a changeover to sleet for all of SW NC minus the immediate SC state line and ridgelines along the Great Balsams. For those who were left out during the last region wide snow event, you are likely to miss out again as the setup is similar, although much less potent this go around. Sleet should transition to rain sometime late Saturday into Sunday as warmer air noses into the region from the southwest. We wont mention possible accumulations but we are discouraging travel for the southern parts of Macon, Jackson and Haywood counties (including all of Transylvania county) this weekend.
We'll provide another update Thursday morning with much more detail on the upcoming wintry precip event and we may feel confident enough to release a SNOWCAST map.