Sunny through Thursday; Rain Friday
Good morning folks! Showers have been peppering the region since daybreak but we still do not expect the bulk of the rain to move in till the mid afternoon hours, peaking this evening and exiting early Wednesday morning. Some rain will kick over to sleet and freezing rain and then snow above 4500' tonight for the TN line, but this should be a minor event. Sunshine takes over Wednesday but temps will be roughly five degrees cooler than normal, holding firm into Thursday which is a change from our previous discussion (we called for much warmer temps). Precip moves back in early Friday and although the wintry precip chances are on the decline, we still expect some freezing rain and sleet for a few areas through the late morning hours that could cause travel issues. All precip becomes a cold rain by noon Friday and exits early Saturday, with 1.5 - 2" of rain likely over the 36 hour period. Clouds linger Saturday with an isolated shower or two around sunset, but for the most part the weekend will be dry, especially with sunshine overhead Sunday.
Temps Tuesday night will dip into the mid - upper 20's for the ridgelines, while the valleys take almost all night to settle into the mid 30's. We expect rain to kick over to a freezing rain/sleet mix around sunset above 5500' and slowly move down to about 4000' as the night moves along, eventually kicking over to snow. This prolonged changeover will limit snow totals to an inch or two for the immediate TN line, with places like Cataloochee Ski Area likely to pick up a solid dusting at best; not much at all for the passes/gaps and notta for the valleys.
Wednesday ushers in sunshine and NW winds around 5 - 15mph, holding temps to the mid 30's along the ridgelines and mid - upper 40's for the valleys. Temps dip into the mid 20's Wednesday across the valleys, while the ridgelines sit in the upper 20's - low 30's due to radiational cooling as clear skies and calm winds make up the action.
Thursday keeps mostly sunny skies overhead, however clouds begin to move in closer to sunset but not before temps make it to the low - upper 40's depending upon elevation. Showers move in early Friday morning and locations close to the escarpment along the SC state line or perhaps a few spots right off the Great Balsams (think Pisgah Forest area) will experience a wintry mix of freezing rain and sleet for an hour or two, becoming a cold rain by the mid - late morning hours. This could result in travel issues as roads ice up in shaded spots for a short period of time, so take caution when heading out Friday morning if you live in the Cashiers, Lake Toxaway or Brevard area. Temps will not move much as they go from the low - mid 30's before sunrise to the mid - upper 40's across all of SW NC by Friday afternoon. This rain event will bring us 1.5 - 2" of rain by the time it wraps up early Saturday morning.
Check back in Thursday morning for a new discussion that will focus on the wintry threat Friday morning and drying out timeline that will occur this upcoming weekend.