Good afternoon folks! Temps remain above average today and will continue to remain above average Thursday, cooling down to slightly below normal on Friday and well below normal by Saturday. The cool down Friday into Saturday is brought on by a strong upper level trough and cold front, pushing heavy rain across the region early Friday with scattered to widespread showers extending into Saturday. As the system departs to the east, upper level cold air will push down to the surface and allow snow to fall along the ridgelines, with a rain/snow mix possible for most of the highway gaps (Soco, Balsam, Cowee, etc.) while the valleys remain warm enough for only cold rain to fall. For those who are planning a trip to the Parkway this Saturday, be aware as it may be closed due to snow and if not, prepare for several inches of snow. Sunshine returns Sunday and will extend into next Tuesday, with temps returning to normal Sunday, rising slowly to above average levels by the middle of next week.
Temps tonight dip into the low - mid 50's under increasing clouds and showers should begin to break out along the escarpment as soon as the late morning - early afternoon hours on Thursday, taking till midnight to expand to all of SW NC. Temps Thursday climb to the low 60's - mid 70's even with high clouds overhead, as southerly flow remains quite strong across the region. Widespread showers break out just before sunrise on Friday with overnight lows Thursday night only settling into the mid 50's for most of the region.
Heavy rain is a good bet Friday morning as the bulk of the stronger storms pass through around 8 - 10am, however lingering moisture from the south and upper level dynamics moving overhead later in the day, should keep showers going across the region. Temps Friday climb to the mid 50's along the ridgelines to the mid 60's across the valleys, falling to the upper 20's along the ridgelines and upper 30's - low 40's across the valleys Friday night. Sometime around midnight we expect rain to kick over to snow and continue above 5000' most of the day Saturday, winding down by the mid afternoon hours. With the overall flow out of the NW on Saturday, areas not adjacent to the TN line will experience showers ending earlier, perhaps as early as late morning or midday. Several inches of rain (1.5 - 2.5") will fall across the region Thursday night into Saturday, followed by several inches of snow along the ridgelines Saturday morning. Temps Saturday only make it to the upper 30's across the ridgelines and mid 50's for the valleys, falling to the low - upper 30's Saturday night under clearing skies.
Sunday into Tuesday of next week features sunshine and warming temps, starting in the upper 50's - low 70's Sunday, rising to the mid 60's - upper 70's Tuesday. Our next discussion will come out Friday afternoon and focus on the ongoing rain event, but also the snow potential and upcoming period of sunshine starting Sunday.