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High Elevation Snow Tuesday Morning

Good afternoon folks! The snow that fell yesterday afternoon and night surprised a few of us across SW NC, as NW flow snow bands setup shop and didn't want to die off like they normally do during a NW flow snow event. This left the Cowee Mountains and Macon/Jackson line down toward Highlands with a steady round of snow, with one report of 4" just below Cullowhee Mtn, while others reported 1 - 2" under the same snow band. See the below map for this particular band of snow that is showing up on the visible satellite imagery this morning.

Visible Satellite Imagery 1.5.20

Image Source: College of Dupage, NEXLAB Satellite and Radar

Now for the forecast. We'll enjoy sunshine the rest of today (Sunday) and fair weather will roll into Monday, followed by clouds building around sunset Monday. Showers will move in Monday night and we are watching a potential high elevation snow event play out on the models for Tuesday morning. As of Sunday afternoon everything points to a transition from rain to snow above 4000' for most of the region during the early morning hours on Tuesday, with a better shot at snow (or a faster transition) the closer you are toward the Jackson/Haywood county line. This will be a potent but short lived event and sunny skies return Wednesday and Thursday, with strong NW winds across the region throughout the day Wednesday. The pattern changes as we approach Friday, with moisture from the Gulf of Mexico turning north into our region and as a disturbance moves in Friday, heavy rain is likely Friday into the weekend. Temps all the while remain a handful of degrees above normal, ramping up to well above normal by Saturday due to the increase in southerly flow.

Monday starts out the work week with sunshine and temps rising to the upper 30's along the ridgelines, warming to the low - mid 50's across the valleys. Overnight lows will be held to the low - upper 30's depending upon elevation as clouds build shortly before sunset, followed by light precip developing after midnight.

Rain changes over to snow for the highest ridgelines (6000' +) shortly after precip begins or may begin as snow from the onset, with snow levels slowly dropping down to roughly 3000' as the morning moves along. As of this afternoon it seems the snow levels will hold to the 3000' line, but a burst of heavier precip may allow snow to reach the valley floor; no accumulations expected for the valleys. The reason for so much uncertainty this close to the event is that we are dealing with an upper level low and the track is important to impacts related to when and how much snow will fall. We cannot say for certain how much exactly will fall above the 3000' snow line, but several inches are possible. We will make another update Monday afternoon to ensure we provide more details before the event begins.

Regardless, precip dries up Tuesday afternoon for most of SW NC, with a transition to NW flow overnight that will keep snow falling in the usual NW flow snow locations; nothing substantial. Temps Tuesday will not move much at all, only warming to the mid - upper 30's across the higher elevations and reaching the mid 40's across the valleys. Temps bottom out to the low - upper 20's Tuesday night, with NW winds picking up to 10 - 20mph.

Wednesday and Thursday bring sunshine back to the region and temps reach the low - mid 40's across the higher elevations (above 3500'), while the valleys warm to the low - mid 50's. As we mentioned above showers move back in Friday, with heavy rain likely Friday afternoon into Saturday.

We'll circle back Monday afternoon, focusing on the possible high elevation snow event Tuesday morning.

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