Strong Storms Wednesday Evening
Good afternoon folks! Mt LeConte picked up an inch of snow and a dusting occurred at Newfound Gap early Monday morning, with rime coating a size-able portion of the high elevation ridgelines. Things are still on track for a widespread rain event Wednesday and the timing should be roughly the same since our last discussion, with a focus of heavy rain and strong winds during the evening hours. Rainfall estimates have risen since we last spoke, with maximum amounts possibly reaching 3" by Thursday morning. An upper level trough will take its time exiting the Eastern US Thursday and Friday, providing another chance for accumulating snowfall Thursday night along the highest ridgelines. High pressure takes over by the weekend and sunny skies push temps into the low 80's by Sunday!
We'll start this discussion beginning Wednesday morning, with cloudy skies overhead as southerly flow continues to ramp up ahead of the approaching cold front off to our west. Wind speeds will hold to 10 - 15mph throughout the day, gusting to 40 - 50mph along the ridgelines above 5500'. Isolated showers are possible by sunrise with coverage slowly filling in from the south and east as the day moves along, becoming widespread by the early afternoon hours. This is roughly when we expect the pre frontal coverage to push into the region and strong thunderstorms are possible, but the main event occurs during the evening hours. A line of strong to severe thunderstorms will sweep the region, dropping heavy rain alongside damaging winds. The vast majority of the 2 - 3" expected for SW NC will fall during this time, so please plan any travel around the evening hours to avoid these storms; scattered showers will continue into the pre dawn hours. Temps Wednesday will reach the upper 50's - upper 60's and fall overnight into the upper 40's for all of SW NC.
A noticeable shift in the wind will occur before sunrise as westerly winds setup shop, not letting go till roughly Friday afternoon. The upper level trough providing the region with a chilly setup will keep isolated shower chances going along the TN line all day Thursday, however the models point to a disturbance swinging through the NW flow Thursday evening. This is when we expect scattered light showers across the area, with most of the action occurring along the TN line. Temps will only make it to the upper 40's - low 60's both Thursday and Friday, with overnight lows in the mid 30's - low 40's Thursday night and upper 30's - mid 40's Friday night. Rain will kick over to snow above 5000' Thursday night with light accumulations possible.
Sunshine returns just in time for the weekend and temps will soar to the low 60's - mid 70's Saturday, pushing even further on Sunday to the upper 60's - low 80's! We'll stop here and circle back on Thursday. Stay safe out there!