Good afternoon folks! The Spring Equinox occurs at 5:58pm this afternoon, which means we will experience an equal amount of day and night, with the days growing longer as we continue our march through spring toward the Summer Equinox on June 21st. Sunshine today gives way to increasing clouds tonight, followed by scattered light showers tomorrow that should wind down by the late evening hours. Sunshine returns Friday but NW flow lingers and so does strong and breezy conditions which will wind down later that night. Sunny conditions carry over into the weekend and Sunday in particular looks fairly warm, with temps approaching the 70°F mark! Past Sunday the models differ on how they handle an incoming disturbance that will either bring us rain on Monday or Tuesday and at this point in time we are leaning toward Tuesday.
Temps tonight dip into the low - upper 30's depending upon elevation as clouds fill in across the region, ahead of the approaching cold front off to our west. With temps near or slightly below freezing above 5000', snow may fall before kicking over to rain for the highest ridgelines, while the rest of us experience a cold rain to start the day on Thursday. We don't expect much more than a dusting for the highest ridgelines and travel will not be impacted. Light showers dot the landscape throughout the day Thursday with rainfall totals under a quarter of an inch for all of SW NC; temps reach the low 40's - mid 50's depending upon elevation. Showers wind down overnight into Thursday, however as the front passes to the east we expect NW flow to setup shop, ushering in colder temps; mid 20's for the ridgelines to the low 30's for the valleys. With cold air in place and lingering moisture banking against the TN line its possible a dusting up to an inch collects across areas with an elevation above 4500 - 5000'. Winds will howl out of the NW around 20 - 40mph across the higher elevations, with steady winds around 10 - 20mph for the valleys.
Sunshine quickly takes over Friday morning, first for the Southern Highlands Plateau, while the TN line takes the longest amount of time to clear out, but either way a sunny day is in store for the region. NW winds remain strong around 10 - 15mph for the valleys and 15 - 25mph for the ridgelines, eventually winding down to a calm breeze after sunset. Temps Friday climb to the low 40's for the ridgelines and upper 50's across the valleys, dipping to the upper 20's - mid 30's Friday night under clear skies.
Sunshine dominates the weekend and for once we'll have a gorgeous spring like setup as temps reach the upper 40's - low 60's Saturday and mid 50's - upper 60's Sunday. It wouldn't surprise us to see towns such as Franklin, Sylva or Bryson City hit the 70°F mark. Overnight lows dip into the low - upper 30's Saturday night, while Sunday night looks to be slightly warmer with temps settling into the upper 30's - low 40's.
Early next week is still a tossup as to whether Monday or Tuesday will be the day in which moderate to heavy rain arrives, so we'll simply mention the possibility and provide details in our next discussion, which will come out Friday afternoon.