Good Afternoon Folks! It is late in the afternoon on Wednesday and the front is still hung up in middle TN, slated to arrive during the late night hours. Although we expected more spotty showers than we have experienced today, we are still on track for 2 - 3" of rain by the time everything winds down Thursday morning. As the front crosses the region late tonight a shift in the overall flow will occur and NW winds will usher in colder air, allowing light snow to fall shortly before sunrise. Sunshine takes over for the rest of the day and fair weather lingers into Saturday, however temps will be slightly below normal and for late January that does translate to a cold setup. The models continue to point to a disturbance closer to Sunday, however the varying solutions do not lead to much confidence and for now we are going with passing clouds and the occasional flurry Sunday morning. Early next week is showing signs of additional precip events and as temps remain on the cooler side of normal, there exist a chance for snow but nothing major at this point in time.
Temps tonight will dip into the low - upper 30's depending upon elevation, remaining above freezing till the pre dawn hours as southwest flow remains overhead till the front passes. As we shift to a NW flow, enough moisture will be around as temps dip below freezing to lay down an inch or two along the Smokies and perhaps a dusting at Cataloochee Ski Area. Flurries and the occasional light snow shower is a good bet before 10am Thursday, with sunny skies quickly taking over thereafter. It will be fairly windy as NW winds remain steady around 15 - 20mph across the higher elevations, gusting to 35mph at times. Temps will rise to the low - mid 40's across the valleys and actually fall a few degrees along the ridgelines through the morning hours, leveling off to the upper 20's for the rest of the day. Overnight lows settle into the mid teens - mid 20's depending upon elevation, as mostly clear skies sit overhead.
Friday and Saturday offer up sunny skies, however a long upper level trough will keep temps below normal, only reaching the low - upper 20's along the ridgelines and upper 30's - low 40's across the valleys each afternoon. Another round of light snow and flurries is possible early Friday morning for places like Cataloochee Ski Area or the Great Balsams, with no accumulations expected. Overnight lows will dip into the low - upper teens Friday night (colder in the valleys, warmer along the ridgelines) and mid - upper 20's Saturday night as clouds build in from the west.
High clouds stream overhead Sunday with a possible flurry or two before midday and temps return to the low 30's - mid 40's alongside strong westerly winds. The models hint at additional precip events early next week that may result in an elevation dependent snow event, but we are too far out in time to be certain.
Our next discussion will come out Friday and hopefully we'll be able to discuss details regarding early next week's rain/snow potential.