Good afternoon folks! After some high elevation snow yesterday and last night, with an inch of snow reported at Mt. LeConte lodge and Cataloochee Ski Area, we are certainly enjoying this sunny weather. Strong winds will continue through the night and calm down Saturday morning, with a perfect setup for the weekend as sunshine and warmer temps hold strong through Sunday. Some clouds are likely closer to sunset on Sunday, with light showers developing later that night ahead of the next round of rain. It seems the models have a handle on the timing of the rain with scattered showers during the day Monday, becoming heavy shortly before or after sunset and taking most of the day Tuesday to wind down. Sunshine will return by next Wednesday and fair weather should stick around till the end of next week. Temps will be above normal this weekend, dipping to slightly below normal levels by Tuesday but returning to the mid - upper 60's by late next week.
Tonight temps dip into the mid 20's along the ridgelines, settling into the upper 20's - low 30's for the valleys, however the cold temps will not be the headline for tonight as strong NW winds around 15 - 25mph push through the region. Gust up to 40 - 50mph are possible for the ridgelines, with gust approaching the 35mph mark for the valleys; all under clear skies.
Sunshine Saturday will bring temps to the mid 40's - low 60's and with winds calming down to a light breeze by the mid morning hours it may feel warmer, especially if you're out in the sun all day. Clear skies Saturday night allow temps to dip into the upper 20's - mid 30's across the region. Sunshine will start the day on Sunday but as the high pressure system slides to the east coast, southerly flow increases and so does the moisture content, allowing clouds to develop later in the day. Although we lose the sunshine temps will soar to the mid 50's - upper 60's depending upon elevation, which is likely to be our warmest day till Friday of next week. Temps overnight into Monday settle into the low - mid 40's as cloudy skies setup shop, with light showers developing closer to sunrise.
Monday and Tuesday will feature moderate to heavy showers with 1 - 2" of rain likely over the 48 hour period. Light scattered showers at first will develop around sunrise Monday and become heavy as we approach the early evening hours, mainly due to the front pushing through the region roughly a few hours past sunset; thunderstorms are possible. Scattered showers continue into Tuesday but wind down as the day moves along, with all rain ending sometime between 2 - 6pm on Tuesday. This timeline is not set in stone, but the general window of rain Monday and Tuesday looks like a solid bet. Temps Monday push into the upper 40's - low 60's and struggle to reach the low 40's - mid 50's Tuesday, with overnight lows in the 40's Monday night and 30's Tuesday night; clear skies by midnight.
Wednesday into Friday of next week looks sunny and temps rebound to the low 50's - low 60's Wednesday, possibly hitting the upper 50's - low 70's by next Friday. Our next discussion will come out Sunday afternoon and will focus on the near term rainfall but also the above average temps to late next week.