High Elevation Snow Wed & Fri Night

January 29, 2020

Good afternoon folks! Here we are in the middle of the work and school week, tracking yet another round of precip that will bring us high elevation snow and a cold rain for the valleys Wednesday night into Thursday. This round of precip will be light, ending early Thursday morning and we'll enjoy a period of calm Thursday and most of the day Friday. Showers return late Friday afternoon and carry over into Saturday, wrapping up early Sunday morning and this setup will be similar in that the higher elevations experience snow while the rest of us in the valleys are stuck with a cold rain. We close out the weekend on a dry note and this is likely to roll into Monday, however the models show another round of precip possibly moving in next Tuesday. Temps will be on the rise over the next five days, starting around normal (mid - upper 40's)  today and Thursday and slowly creeping to the low 60's by Monday!!! 

 

We'll start out the forecast timeline with a look at the near term (Wednesday afternoon into Thursday). There are not too many adjustments to make from the previous discussion, although timing of the event has moved up slightly. Isolated showers will begin to pepper the region this afternoon, first out of the south and then slowly building north across the region as we enter the evening hours. Temps at the noon hour are in the upper 20's along the ridgelines, while the valleys sit in the low - mid 40's and we anticipate they'll warm a few more degrees before the precip arrives. With dry in place it seems the higher elevations will be able to start out as snow and maintain that precip type throughout the event. For locations above 4000', expect snow to fall and if you are just below this line, a wintry mix may occur but a sharp cutoff will occur from rain to snow. Accumulations will be light, with an inch or two above 5500' and a skiff of snow up to an inch from 4000 - 5500'. The rest of us will experience a cold rain and temps tonight will settle into the low - upper 30's depending upon elevation. Because the moisture is coming out of the south, places like Highlands, Cashiers and Little Canada have a decent chance for a light accumulation of snow; don't be surprised is Jackson County schools have a delay Thursday morning. 

 

Showers wrap up early Thursday morning but as we transition to a NW flow, light snow showers and flurries will continue along the TN line till midday. For the rest of SW NC, passing high clouds can be expected with more sunshine the further you get away from the TN line and perhaps more sun than clouds along the SC state line. Temps Thursday will warm to the mid 30's along the ridgelines, while we hit the 50°F mark in the lower elevations. Overnight lows dip into the low - upper 30's once again with clouds returning to the region. 

 

Friday features an upper level trough approaching the region from the west, which will spin up a system along the Gulf Coast, throwing moisture back into our region late Friday through Saturday. This second event will be another light one in terms of potential snow and rain totals, mainly because of the location of the low pressure system and the subsequent shortwave. Temps Friday warm to the upper 30's - upper 40's and as precip moves in after midday, snow will fall above 5500', slowly moving down in elevation to roughly the 4000' line; elsewhere a cold rain will fall. Coverage expands overnight into Saturday but nothing widespread and as the day moves along Saturday, coverage will begin to shrink sometime around the early afternoon hours, fading back to the TN line as we transition back to another NW flow setup. As of midday Wednesday the potential snowfall amounts range from 1 - 4" across the higher elevations, with the highest amounts across the Smokies as they take advantage of the back-end NW flow snow setup. Temps Friday night dip into the low - upper 30's once again and rebound to the mid 30's - upper 40's Saturday afternoon, which should be our last normal day till the middle of next week. NW flow snow will continue from Saturday afternoon into the pre dawn hours on Sunday, however the rest of SW NC will enjoy clearing skies. 

 

This clearing will bring us sunny skies for all but 10% of the region on Sunday and as the upper level ridges inches closer to the area, temps will respond, pushing into the low 40's - mid 50's depending upon elevation. Sunshine continues into Monday and temps peak to the upper 40's - low 60's depending upon elevation! 

 

We'll stop here and circle back Friday morning with a closer look at the second precip event and push the forecast timeline into the middle of next week. 

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