Good Morning Folks! Showers will sweep the region this afternoon and evening, pushing east tonight, which will setup a dry but cloudy day Friday. A second and much stronger system will move through the region Saturday, dropping 2 - 4" of rain throughout the day and night, followed by cold air surging into the region that will kick over rain to snow for the TN line. All precip will wind down Sunday afternoon and our coldest day of the season is slated for Monday with highs near or below freezing above 3500'. Fair weather should be overhead on Monday and Tuesday with showers returning by the middle of next week. Overall the wintry precip threat this weekend will be limited to the usual NW flow snow locations and with snowmaking temps setting up shop Saturday night and lasting into Tuesday, the upcoming holiday weekend should be a great one for those hitting the slopes.
Passing showers today and this evening will drop about a quarter of an inch or so of rain across the region, however the initial precip may fall as sleet or snow across the higher elevations. Eventually warmer temps will win out and all precip will kick over to rain with a possible dusting to an inch of snow for those above 5000'. Temps today reach the upper 30's along the ridgelines and mid 40's for the valleys, only dipping into the mid - upper 30's tonight as southwesterly flow takes over.
Precip ends shortly before sunrise on Friday for the majority of the region, however lingering moisture along the TN line may continue till the late morning hours. High clouds will stream overhead and with southwesterly flow in place temps will reach the low 40's - low 50's depending upon elevation. Friday night brings us additional cloud cover, capping temps to the upper 30's for most of the region (slightly cooler along the ridgelines).
Saturday morning is when we expect the next round of rain to arrive, continuing throughout the day and peaking both in coverage and intensities Saturday night. The wintry precip possibilities hinge upon the colder air arriving just as the moisture is exiting and if we use past experiences as a guidance tool, this is not likely to pan out. With this in mind, a soggy Saturday and Saturday night is in store for the area with anywhere from 2 - 4" of rain falling by Sunday morning. Temps Saturday remain warm as they reach the low 40's - low 50's once again, however they will drop like a rock during the pre dawn hours on Sunday, bottoming out to the mid 20's - mid 30's by sunrise.
Sunday morning into the early afternoon hours is the window for NW flow snow to occur and a few inches is possible in places like the Smokies, Great Balsams and Cataloochee Ski Area, with nothing more than a dusting for the nearby valleys and ridgelines. Temps Sunday will be chilly across the lower elevations with highs only reaching the upper 30's - low 40's, while the ridgelines struggle to rise above freezing. In addition to the incoming cold air and potential high elevation snow, strong NW winds will also be a concern as they ramp up to 20 - 30mph later in the day and overnight into Monday. Keep in mind that temps will dip into the single digits along the ridgelines Sunday night and low - mid teens for the valley and when coupled with strong winds, sub zero wind chill values are likely (bundle up Monday morning).
Monday will likely be our coldest day of the season with highs in the upper 20's - upper 30's depending upon elevation, however sunny skies will be overhead and NW winds will calm down as they day moves along, with a light breeze present by sunset.
We'll go into more detail about the upcoming cold snap and the NW flow snow event sometime Saturday morning.