Good morning folks! It's Tuesday morning and we are watching scattered light showers dot the landscape as the rain event begins. Today's rain will be light and moisture from the Gulf of Mexico will pour into the region tomorrow morning, setting up heavy rain tomorrow afternoon that should continue into Thursday afternoon, eventually winding down for most of SW NC by Friday morning. There will be some wrap around moisture Friday that will keep precip falling along the TN line and rain will kick over to snow above 4500', but this should be a light round of snow that ends Friday afternoon. We are also keeping an eye on the models for a third round of precip that could move through late Saturday, possibly falling as snow Saturday night for most of the region but we want pump the brakes on the hype train as this remains a possibility and not a lock as the models do not have a good handle on this scenario/setup. Temps will remain well above normal through Thursday and turn colder on Friday with temps a handful of degrees below normal Friday and Saturday; a normal high for the valley in early February is 50°F. Regarding the rain, we are expecting 3 - 4" across all of SW NC from Tuesday into Friday morning, with numerous sites surpassing the 5" mark and several locations making a run at the 7" mark; more details below.
Light scattered showers will pass overhead today as SW flow becomes established and we'll likely pick up anywhere from a quarter - half inch of rain, with the highest amounts found along the N GA line. Temps will remain warm, pushing into the low 50's - low 60's depending upon elevation and only settling into the upper 40's - low 50's tonight. Shower coverage remains scattered throughout the night, with another quarter - half inch of rain from dusk till dawn.
Wednesday and Thursday will be heavy rain days and it may take till the afternoon hours on Wednesday for shower coverage to expand to widespread and precip intensity to reach moderate - heavy rates. A true atmospheric river will setup shop early Wednesday morning and this super - saturated flow will stem from the Gulf of Mexico, aimed directly at the Carolinas. As this hits our mountainous terrain, showers will develop and this setup should hold firm for roughly 36 hours. A cold front will sweep the region Thursday afternoon, bringing with it the strongest rain of the event but it seems the severe weather threat remains to our south and east; although high winds and blinding downpours are likely for our region, so don't let your guard down. We'll pick up 3 - 4" of rain from Wednesday morning into Thursday evening and temps will hold to the low 50's - low 60's each afternoon, with overnight lows dipping to the low 50's Wednesday night but dropping to the low - upper 30's Thursday night. It's likely rain will kick over to snow late Thursday night for the highest ridgelines, with precip coverage scaling back to the TN line by Friday morning.
Locations including Highlands, Cashiers, Lake Toxaway, Pisgah Forest, and Brevard are likely candidates to exceed the 5 - 6" rainfall mark and we bet one, if not a few of these locations will reach the 7" mark by the time its all said and done Friday.
Friday will not be a very motivating day as cloudy skies take most of the morning to clear out for areas south and east of Franklin, Cullowhee and Waynesville, while light snow falls along the TN line. Temps go from the 60's on Thursday in the valley to the mid 40's Friday, while the ridgelines only manage to hit the mid - upper 30's. All precip ends late Friday and we'll finally dry out Friday night, with lows settling into the mid 20's - low 30's under clearing skies.
We'll hit the stop button at this point in time and only mention there is a chance for rain or snow late Saturday afternoon into Sunday morning, but this is still very much up in the air. We'll circle back on Thursday with much more information at hand to provide details regarding the weekend event and even take a look at early next week. Till then, stay dry!!!