Good Afternoon Folks! As we slowly work our way through this frigid day temps continue to remain below freezing across the higher elevations. Worth noting, Mt Mitchell dropped down to an impressive -6.4°F this morning with a wind chill of -21.3°F; numerous high elevation sites were slightly below or above the zero mark. Sunshine today spills over into tomorrow and temps warm slightly, peaking in warmth for the week on Wednesday with showers returning to the region. As the event unfolds late Tuesday night and into early Wednesday morning, there is the likelihood for all wintry precip types to fall as we transition from snow to sleet to freezing rain and finally over to a cold rain. Showers wind down Thursday, followed by sunshine and colder temps Friday into the weekend. The models point to a low pressure system Sunday night that could deliver another round of rain or snow, but we will not know too much till Thursday.
After the sun sets this afternoon temps will plummet to the upper single digits - low teens across the valleys, while the ridgelines settle into the mid - upper teens. This is due to ideal radiational cooling conditions (dry air, light winds, clear skies) and although temps on Tuesday will reach the upper 30's - mid 40's, we will deal with another frigid start tomorrow. Clouds develop quickly late Tuesday and fill in shortly after sunset with precip developing shortly before or after midnight. Snow and sleet is likely for an hour or two, then freezing rain and finally all rain sometime around the late morning - early afternoon hours on Wednesday. The one thing we have going for us is the mechanism locking in cold and dry air is not as strong as usual and the warmer air intrusion from the southwest will win out. Temps settle into the upper 20's - mid 30's Tuesday night and will actually cool down just before the precip begins, rising to the mid - upper 40's on Wednesday.
Most of SW NC will pick up 1 - 3" of rain from the event with the higher amounts focused along the SC and N GA state lines. Coverage and intensities increase overnight into Thursday, with showers winding down Thursday morning as the front exits to the east. As the front exits temps will drop somewhat quickly and allow light to moderate snow to fall along the TN line into Thursday morning, while the rest of SW NC drys out. Nothing more than an inch or two is expected at this time. Temps Thursday climb to the mid 30's - low 40's depending upon elevation and settle into the upper teens - mid 20's.
Friday into the weekend features colder temps, somewhere in the range of 10 - 15 degrees below normal. Highs reach the upper 20's - upper 30's Friday and Saturday, with overnight lows in the low - upper teens; great snowmaking weather.
Our next discussion will come out Wednesday and hopefully we'll know more about the late weekend rain/snow event.