Good morning folks! Now that we are less than 24 hours out from the front arriving, it seems the highest rainfall totals we can hope for will be around a half inch, with a more realistic quarter inch across most of SW NC. The bulk of the rain will fall Tuesday night into Wednesday morning and as the front crosses the region Wednesday, we'll notice a change as winds pick up out of the NW and temps dip to below normal levels. Thursday will be sunny but don't let that fool you as it will be chilly with steady NW winds and temps roughly 6 - 8 degrees below normal, followed by widespread frost Thursday night. We'll even see a handful of high elevation stations above 5500' dip below freezing both Wednesday and Thursday night. Sunshine continues for Friday and carries over into Saturday with a gradual warming trend to normal levels, however Sunday and Monday feature increasing rain chances.
The rest of today (Tuesday) will bring us increasing clouds and light, spotty showers breaking out closer to sunset. Temps will push into the upper 50's along the ridgelines, warming to the low 70's across the valleys, followed by overnight lows in the low - upper 50's. Scattered light to moderate showers will play out across the region tonight, spilling over into Wednesday and winding down sometime around midday. Temps Wednesday will struggle to move much at all, perhaps climbing a degree or two along the ridgelines to the low - mid 50's, while the valleys only warm to the mid 60's. NW winds will pick up during the afternoon hours, gusting to 40 - 50mph above 5000' overnight into Thursday. As NW flow ushers in colder air Wednesday night, temps will plummet to the low - upper 30's depending upon elevation and frost is possible for the more sheltered hollers and coves, but we don't think anything widespread will occur as NW winds remain strong throughout the night; wind speeds around 10mph in the valleys will help keep frost formation at bay.
Thursday brings sunshine back to the region, however temps will only make it to the mid 40's across the ridgelines and upper 50's - low 60's across the lower elevations. NW winds eventually die down as the day moves along, but it will be a shock to the system if you live above 4500' as this will be our first true cold day of the season. Overnight temps settle into the low - mid 30's for the valley, while the ridgelines hold to the upper 30's, all due to an ideal radiational cooling setup (clear skies, dry air and no wind) that will allow a typical temperature inversion to occur (cold air is denser than warmer air and sinks to the valleys). This is when we expect a widespread and heavier frost compared to Wednesday night.
Friday and Saturday keep sunny skies overhead and temps warm to the mid - upper 50's across the higher elevations, coming close to 70°F by Saturday throughout the lower elevations. As the high pressure system that provides us with sunshine and warming temps slides to our east and offshore, we'll notice an uptick in moisture levels Sunday as southwest flow increases. This will set the stage for spotty showers Sunday and possibly scattered to widespread showers Monday. We are too far out to be certain as to how much will fall and when but we'll circle back on Thursday with another forecast discussion, focusing on the upcoming rain event. Till then, stay warm and enjoy the fall like weather!