Easter Weekend Snowfall
Good afternoon folks! It has been an impressive 36 hours with everyone across SW NC picking up over 2" of rain. Numerous sites surpassed the 3 - 4" mark and a handful eclipsed the 5" threshold, with only one making it as far as 6.93" and that would be Pisgah Forest. All of the 5 - 6" amounts were found along the escarpment, moving up into the French Broad Valley as southwesterly flow coupled with very strong thunderstorms setup shop this morning, taking till the mid afternoon hours to scale back to scattered coverage. We are not done with the rain and although we only called several inches of rain for this event, it looks like we could pick up another 0.5 - 1" this afternoon into Saturday evening, more so this evening as a cold front crosses the region.
The upper level trough and upper level low currently over northern MS will eventually track overhead tomorrow and exit the region to the northeast tomorrow afternoon, with precip (rain and snow) winding down Saturday evening. Sunshine moves in Sunday and holds strong through at least Tuesday, possibly Wednesday of next week. Temps cool down roughly 20 degrees below normal Saturday and warm to a handful of degrees below normal Sunday, returning to above normal levels by Monday of next week. For those traveling during the holiday weekend, we recommend not using roads above 5000' Saturday afternoon as several inches of snow are likely to accumulate along the ridgelines, with snow levels dipping to as low as the highway gaps (3000'). At this time we do not expect any travel issues for Cowee or Balsam gaps, although Soco gap could experience accumulations under an inch on grass and elevated surfaces.
Temps tonight plummet into the upper 20's along the ridgelines to the upper 30's for the valleys, allowing precip to fall as snow as early as the late evening hours above 5000'. With coverage waning a bit this evening we don't expect much in the way of accumulating snow, however a second round of precip will swing through Saturday morning, allowing several inches of snow to stick by the early afternoon hours; 3 - 5" for places like the Smokies, Great Balsams, etc. The rest of us will only experience scattered light - moderate rain Saturday and with temps struggling to reach the mid 30's along the ridgelines and upper 40's - low 50's in the valleys, it will be a miserable day to be outside. Add to the mix westerly winds around 15 - 25mph across the entire region, gusting to 40mph along the ridgelines (Saturday night) and it will not be a pleasant spring day. Temps fall to the upper 20's - low 40's Saturday night under clearing skies late as NW flow takes over, allowing precip to scale back to the TN line with light snow falling as late as midnight on Sunday.
Sunshine then takes over for Easter Sunday and hangs around through early next week, possibly as late as Wednesday with another rain event expected for sometime late next week; most likely Thursday. Temps Sunday warm to the low 50's - upper 60's, which is only a handful of degrees below normal but then soar to the low 60's - upper 70's on Monday, holding to this level through Wednesday.
Our next discussion will come out Sunday late afternoon and we'll try providing more detail on the next round of rain for late next week, however it may be too far out for any specifics.