Good afternoon folks! Winds are picking up this afternoon ahead of the approaching cold front, with showers expected to reach the mountains this evening. Shower coverage increases to widespread before before midnight and thunderstorms are possible overnight into Friday, with showers eventually winding down Friday afternoon. Sunshine sets up shop for the weekend and possibly into early next week, however the models bring another front through that may develop showers, although it does look moisture starved at this point in time. The next potential for rain will be Wednesday/Thursday of next week and a possible transition to snow may occur for the highest ridgelines, however take anything beyond five days out with a grain of salt. Temps will drop to below normal levels beginning Saturday and hold steady through the middle of next week, but nothing too cold as temps rise to the 40's and 50's depending upon elevation.
Showers tonight increase gradually as the front approaches from the west, with southwest winds also picking up steam, becoming steady around 10 - 20mph for the valleys and 25 - 35mph for the ridgelines; gust up to 50mph. Temps tonight will not drop far as they settle into the low - upper 50's, rebounding to the low 50's - low 60's Friday afternoon. Precip coverage increases to widespread closer to midnight and thunderstorms are possible just before sunrise, with an inch or more of rain likely for all of SW NC by the mid morning hours. Precip becomes spotty at best past midday Friday with the best coverage along the TN line as the overall flow transitions out of the southwest to the northwest. This will dry up shortly before sunset and clouds gradually clear overnight into Saturday with overnight lows dipping into the mid 20's along the ridgelines to the low 30's for the valleys.
NW winds will maintain a strong presence along the ridgelines and higher elevations overnight into Saturday, taking till the evening hours to settle down, with the valleys only experiencing NW winds around 10 - 15mph. Temps Saturday and Sunday only reach the low 40's - mid 50's depending upon elevation, which is roughly 4 - 6 degrees below normal for mid March; Cullowhee average max temp for March 16th is 60.6°F. Overnight lows dip into the upper 20's - mid 30's each night under clear skies.
Monday through Wednesday looks sunny but this could change as the models hint as some passing clouds Monday and maybe even light showers, however only one among the many show this solution so we will wait till Saturday before changing course. Either way the passing front will reinforce the below normal temps and we'll continue with highs in the low 40's - mid 50's and overnight lows in the mid 20's - low 30's. Our next discussion will come out Saturday early afternoon and we'll focus on the upcoming frontal passage and the possibility for either rain, snow or both by the middle of next week.