A New Year's Eve - Day Washout
Good morning folks! A good bit of snowmelt occurred this past weekend for those who receive sun but for those in the shade, the snow continues to linger. We'll experience a slow melt for those of us in the shade as we move through the week and all of the snow will be gone by Thursday morning as rainfall increases across the region. We'll experience a cloudy start to the week with a few light showers possible today, giving way to sunshine and warmer temps Tuesday. Clouds fill back in Wednesday as the upper level ridge and high pressure slide east, while at the same time weak cold air damming sets up across the Carolinas. This will translate into increasing clouds on Wednesday with precip breaking out before sunset for our southernmost locations along the escarpment, becoming widespread by the morning hours on Thursday. This upcoming rain event will be a sizeable one for the region, with moderate - heavy rain falling all day Thursday and continuing through the night into Friday. Most of SW NC will pick up 2" of rain and several locations along the escarpment will push into the 3 - 4" range. This puts Highlands back in the running to break the annual state rainfall record, if we can pick up 3" before midnight on New Year's Eve. Past the late week heavy rain event, we'll enjoy a break from the rain this weekend with sunshine returning to the region. The models hint at another wintry event later in the weekend, but we'll only mention the possibility since we are 5 - 6 days out and circle back to this in our next discussion on Wednesday.
Passing clouds with a light shower or two will be all the action we see today. Colder air in the valleys could lead to some freezing drizzle before noon but even the NWS thinks this is a low end chance. Temps eventually warm to the low - upper 40's across the region this afternoon and settle back into the upper 20's - mid 30's tonight, with valley locations colder than ridgelines by sunrise on Tuesday; gradual clearing past midnight.
Mostly sunny skies move in Tuesday and temps warm to the mid 40's - upper 50's depending upon elevation, dipping back into the upper 20's - mid 30's Tuesday as clouds increase across the region; a normal temp profile is expected.
Cloud cover increases and thickens Wednesday morning with light precip breaking out before sunset for the Southern Highlands Plateau, expanding overnight into Thursday to cover all of SW NC by the mid morning hours. Temps will be capped to the low - upper 40's once again Wednesday afternoon, followed by overnight lows in the mid 30's - low 40's; no wintry precip expected at any elevation.
New Year's Eve (Thursday) will be a washout and a perfect day to recharge (if you are able to take time off) as widespread moderate - heavy rainfall peppers the region all day long. The heaviest precip will fall from the late afternoon hours through the mid morning hours on Friday as the front approaches the region, coupled with southerly flow and very high moisture levels. Temps Thursday will be noticeably warmer, almost spring-like, as they hit the low 60's across the valleys, dipping to the low 50's overnight into Friday. Temps return to the low 60's Friday afternoon and rainfall should wind down shortly after midday on New Year's Day. As we mentioned above, rainfall totals will average out to 2" across SW NC and locations along or near the SC state line will pick up 3 - 4" Wednesday evening into Friday early afternoon.
The weekend ahead looks quiet (so far) and temps will gradually cool down to the upper 30's - low 50's by Sunday, but we'll stop here as this is likely to change. Our next discussion comes out Wednesday morning.