Rain & Snow Saturday; Sunny Sunday
Good afternoon folks! Showers will continue through the overnight hours and carry over into Saturday morning, with a transition from rain to snow based on elevation throughout the day Saturday. Snow accumulations will be confined to the usual NW flow locations, however a dusting is not out of the question for the valleys (nothing expected south and east of Cullowhee). Sunshine moves in Sunday and will continue into Monday with temps a few degrees above normal, followed by another round of showers Tuesday afternoon. This second round of precip will be short lived as a front crosses the region, setting up another stretch of dry weather Wednesday into late next week.
Saturday will not be the best day to be outside as damp conditions persist alongside falling temps after the late morning hours. An upper level trough will swing across the region after midday and bring with it colder temps and enough instability to keep precip going across the region, allowing snow to fall for the higher elevations. Rain will kick over to snow above 5000' as soon as midday and slowly work its way down in elevation, reaching the valleys an hour or two before sunset. Because of the coverage being scattered it will be hard to say who could pick up a coating of snow outside the typical NW flow locations, but the chance is there for a dusting in places like Bryson City, Franklin, and Sylva, with a good bet for a dusting up to an inch in Waynesville, Maggie Valley and up through I-40 into TN. Several inches of snow are likely for Cataloochee Ski Area and an inch is possible in places like Balsam and Soco Gap. Upwards of 5 - 7" will fall directly along the TN line in the Smokies and we wouldn't be surprised to see a report Sunday morning of 6 - 8" at Mt LeConte.
Temps on Saturday will start the day in the low - upper 40's but drop after midday, settling to the low - upper 20's shortly before midnight. NW winds pick up as the day moves along, with wind speeds around 15 - 20mph across the higher terrain, gusting up to 40mph at times. All precip comes to an end just before sunrise on Sunday, but for a few lingering flurries directly along the TN line in the Smokies.
Sunday and Monday bring sunny skies back to the region, with highs reaching the low 40's - low 50's and windy conditions will persist into Sunday, calming down to a light breeze that night. Overnight lows Sunday night dip into the mid - upper 20's under clear skies, but hold to the low - mid 30's Monday night as clouds build across the region.
Our next rainmaker is slated for Tuesday afternoon, followed by another round of sunshine Wednesday into late next week. Temps all the while hold to the low - mid 50's across the valleys, so not a major warm-up, but still a handful of degrees above normal for early January. Our next discussion will come out Sunday afternoon.