Sunny and Warm this Weekend
Good morning folks! Yesterday's snowfall was an overall disappointment to the vast majority of folks living in SW NC as the higher elevations seemed to be the only spot where snow accumulated. After pouring over the local observations from the NWS and social media, it seems our SNOWCAST Map verified for the those throughout the Southern Highlands Plateau where Highlands picked up an official 3.8" (max forecast amount was 4"); numerous locations nearby also reached the 3" mark. With that being said, Bryson City, Franklin, Sylva, and Cullowhee all were left out of the action as temps never really supported accumulation, with snow melting on contact with the ground; trace amounts recorded for all but Cullowhee, which reported 0.2". Over in Haywood County, Waynesville picked up a half inch while Cataloochee Ski Area and Maggie Valley cashed in with 3" of new snow; even Brevard reported 2". All in all, we'll give ourselves a B- grade for the forecast, mainly because the lack of accumulation in the valleys and although we only expected 0.5 - 2", many people were let down with this event. We're still not out of the woods yet as late Feb - mid March can be a fun time for snowfall, with some of our biggest storms in history playing out during this time frame.
Onto the forecast. Today will be sunny but cold as high pressure remains in control across the region, stretching its influence into Saturday, however it will be slowly departing to the northeast and we'll lose this influence by late Sunday. Moisture will slowly works its way into the region Sunday afternoon, setting up increasing clouds overnight into Monday, alongside a slight chance for an isolated shower. That being said, today through Sunday (daylight hours) will be dry and we'll experience a slight warming trend today into the weekend.
Temps Friday will only warm to the mid 20's along the ridgelines, while the valleys struggle to rise past the low 40's. Winds pick up today out of the north and calm down later this evening, with clear skies overhead tonight, setting up minimal radiational cooling conditions that will result in overnight lows dipping into the low - mid teens for the valleys, with the ridgelines settling into the upper teens. Temps take advantage of the change in flow from the north to the south tomorrow (will take most of the day Saturday) and push into the upper 30's - low 50's under sunny skies. Temps settle into the low - upper 20's Saturday night under continuing clear skies; valleys colder than the ridgelines due to radiational cooling. Sunday will be a nice end to the weekend with mostly sunny skies overhead and temps warming to the low 40's - mid 50's. Clouds develop past sunset and an isolated shower is possible by sunrise, with overnight lows in the low - upper 30's.
Monday and Tuesday bring us rain and its likely scattered shower chances linger into Wednesday, but widespread showers with possible thunderstorms occur Monday into Tuesday. A cold front will approach the region Monday, allowing southerly flow to ramp up into the SW NC mountains, developing scattered showers by midday. Coverage increase to widespread overnight as the front enters the region, slowly exiting Tuesday late morning. This stretched out period of rain will bring us at least an inch, if not two inches of rain over the 48 hour period; highest totals along the Southern Highlands Plateau. Temps will be well above freezing, warming to the mid 40's - low 50's Monday and feeling spring-like on Tuesday with highs in the upper 40's - low 60's!
We'll stop here and circle back Sunday early afternoon with much more detail pertaining to timing of the rain and stretch the forecast into Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of next week. Till then, enjoy the dry and sunny weekend!