Good Afternoon Folks! We are tracking the current rain event as it slides across the region, expected to transition from rain to snow late tonight into Sunday morning and wind down sometime Sunday afternoon. The coldest air of the season arrives Sunday night and sets up a frigid start to the school and work week, even with sunny skies overhead. Fair weather lingers into Tuesday but will be short lived as a low pressure system pushes across the Carolinas Wednesday into Thursday, delivering another soaking rain upwards of 2 - 3". The models hint at yet another deep cold snap for late next weekend, with a possible clipper Saturday that could wringe out snow for the region but we are too far out to be sure. All in all, we are in for a very wintry next 2 - 3 days with another soaker pushing through mid week, followed by another round of below normal temps next weekend.
Most of the region will pick up 2 - 4" of rain from this current system, with heavy rain and high winds likely late tonight as the front crosses the region. After the front pushes through we will transition from southwesterly flow to a northwest setup and this will signal the beginning of the changeover from rain to snow (top down). Although most of the precip will be off to our east by tomorrow morning, enough NW flow moisture from the Great Lakes will keep snow going along the TN line with scattered snow showers for the rest of the region. This will be a fairly decent NW flow snow event and the only thing keeping snow totals down will be the short duration as moisture should wind down by the late afternoon/early evening hours on Sunday. The TN line could pick anywhere from 2 - 6" of snow depending upon how long moisture feeds into the region, whereas the nearby valleys such as Maggie Valley and Waynesville may pick up an inch. Flurries are likely to linger into the pre dawn hours on Monday due to very strong NW winds. Speaking of which, wind chill values will be very cold starting Sunday night as we go from the mid 40's - low 50's today to the upper teens - mid 20's tonight, only to climb back to the low 20's - low 30's Sunday. As NW winds become steady around 10 - 15mph across the valleys and 20 - 40mph across the ridgelines, wind chill values dip to near zero overnight as temps plunge into the upper singe digits - mid teens depending upon elevation.
Sunshine takes over for Monday and winds gradually calm down, with temps only reaching the upper 20's - low 40's. Overnight into Tuesday remains dry and clear and temps settle into the upper teens for the valley and mid 20's along the ridgelines as radiational cooling leads to a temperature inversion.
Tuesday keeps sunshine overhead and Wednesday brings rain back to the region due to a low pressure system pushing across the Carolinas, with showers ending Thursday. This second rain event also looks to be a decent soaking with 2 - 3" possible for all of SW NC. We will mention the possibility of another cold snap late next week, followed by a second chance for snow but we will wait till Monday before discussing details, which is also when our next forecast discussion is released. Till then, stay dry and bundle up Sunday!