Flooding, Snow, and Strong Winds
Friday 2/7/20 Afternoon Update: Took much longer than anticipated for us to provide an update, but we wanted to make sure the latest model runs matched our previous line of thinking. The forecast is still good to go and we expect snow to fall across the region, beginning sometime before or shortly after sunrise on Saturday. Elevations above 3000' will experience advisory level accumulating snow, anywhere from 2 - 3" depending upon how close you are to the TN, N GA and SC state lines, however the valleys should be able to squeak out a dusting up to an inch. Light to moderate snow will fall throughout the morning hours and begin to subside as we enter the mid - late afternoon hours, with the real winners being the Smokies, Cataloochee Ski Area, Soco and Balsam Gaps and areas directly along the GA and SC state lines. We wouldn't be surprised to see a few snowfall reports of 4 - 5" along the TN line and if you have the chance, tomorrow looks like a perfect setup to hit the slopes or go on your favorite snowy hike. We'll skip our previously scheduled discussion for Saturday and move it to Sunday late morning. Enjoy the snow everyone!
Good morning folks! We are in the midst of our heavy rain event this morning and many local schools are letting out as reports of localized flooding come into the news feed. We expect the heavy rains to continue into the afternoon hours and the bulk of the action will eventually shift east later this evening, however a westerly flow will setup shop post frontal, keeping scattered showers going across the region overnight into Friday. Colder air will also pour into the region tonight, flipping rain over to snow for the higher elevations and this will wind down Friday evening. You would think we would be done with rain and snow after Friday night but not so fast. More precip swings into the region Saturday and this time we expect snow to fall across the area, how much and exactly where is still not set in stone but the chance for snow has increased since our last discussion on Tuesday; more details below. We'll get a reprieve from the wet weather on Sunday but this will be short lived as more rain enters the picture Monday afternoon, followed by another wet day next Tuesday.
Heavy rain and even torrential downpours are pushing creeks and streams over their banks this morning, causing localized flooding and we stress to everyone to remember the phrase, "Turn Around, Don't Drown". There have already been numerous water rescues across WNC and if you see standing or moving water over a roadway, simply turn around and find another route.
Widespread showers will continue throughout the day and temps will push to the mid 50's - low 60's depending upon elevation this afternoon. The front should cross our region around the mid - late afternoon hours and colder air will begin to push into the area shortly after sunset. During the frontal passage strong winds and downpours are expected, but shower coverage and intensities will scale back afterward to scattered showers in a more westerly flow. Rain will flip to snow above 5000' before midnight and move down in elevation to above 3500' by the pre dawn hours, eventually making it to the valley floor shortly after sunrise. Light accumulations around an inch or two is possible above 4500', with a dusting up to an inch for the 3500' crowd and maybe a dusting at best for the valleys. Temps tonight will bottom out to the low - mid 20's along the ridgelines, while the valleys dip to 31 - 33°F.
If you think today is nasty day, wait till tomorrow. Temps will only make it to the mid 20's above 4500' and across the lower elevations, we'll be lucky to see 38 - 39°F. Light snow during the morning hours will wind down as we move into the afternoon hours and westerly winds will be howling, with gust up to 50mph above 4500' and a steady wind around 15 - 20mph across most of the region. Friday night features clearing skies with temps dipping into the low - upper 20's, with westerly winds still quite strong around 10 - 25mph.
Saturday is certainly a tough forecast, as some of the latest models keep the shortwave that would bring us snow further to our north, but even if this scenario plays out we should still experience falling snow; the real impact would be lesser accumulations. The bulk of the action occurs during the early morning hours just as the sun is coming up and this will extend into the early afternoon hours for most of the region, but slowly scale back to the TN line for the remainder of the day. As of this morning, we are going with a dusting up to an inch for most of the lower elevations across SW NC, while the 3000 - 4500' block picks up 1 - 3" and slightly more along the ridgelines. Keep in mind that a forecast range of 1 - 3" of snow may seem like a lot but we are talking about a tenth of an inch difference in liquid precip (think of a light passing shower for 10 minutes) and this tight margin of error makes for a difficult forecast. Temps Saturday will only make it to the low 30's above 4500', while the valleys warm to the low 40's but this should occur after the precip moves out; if precip lingers longer than expected, we could see a wintry mix for the valleys after midday. Overnight lows settle into the low - upper 20's once again, with light snow continuing along the TN line till the pre dawn hours while the rest of SW NC enjoys clearing skies.
Sunshine moves in Sunday, pushing temps to the low 40's - mid 50's and clouds return Monday ahead of a front that will bring us rain later in the day. Temps hold to the 40's and 50's depending upon elevation Monday into the middle of next week, alongside showers that are likely to stick around for Tuesday and Wednesday.
With so much going on, we'll likely do a small update tomorrow afternoon or evening, focusing on the Saturday snow potential and providing a more detailed look at early next week.