A White & FRIGID Christmas; Sunny this Wknd
Good morning folks! The main event is unfolding as we type this discussion and everything is still on track from the previous discussion (no changes to the SNOWCAST Map), with several inches of rain this morning, followed by several inches of snow late this afternoon and overnight into Christmas Day. One slight change is to up the expected rainfall totals along the escarpment from 2 - 3" to 3 - 4", perhaps as high as 5 - 6" in a handful of spots. Highlands needs 6.09" to tie the annual state rainfall record and we are not rooting for such a high total but it looks like we will come extremely close to beating the record but not make it with only a handful of days left in the year. The front is knocking on the door and will cross the region today, ushering in an artic blast just in time for Christmas Day that will crash temps to the teens and 20's for afternoon highs. Fair weather takes over Saturday and Sunday and temps gradually warmup over the weekend to the low 50's across the lower elevations on Sunday. The second front Sunday night into Monday will be weak and produce a handful of snow showers along the TN line Monday morning, with high clouds for the rest of SW NC. We'll enjoy another stretch of sunshine Tuesday and Wednesday, with a third event possible for Wednesday into Thursday.
Moderate - heavy rain will fall across the region today and temps will push to the low 40's - mid 50's before noon and plummet the rest of the afternoon, falling to the 20's by sunset for locations above 3500'. It may take till the evening hours for snow levels to reach the valley floor and it'll be around this time coverage begins to wane and will slowly scale back to the TN line, with scattered snow showers falling across SW NC the rest of the overnight hours. All of SW NC is expecting accumulating snowfall, with the valleys picking up at least a dusting and the latest short term models show around an inch for the valleys; trending higher the past 24 hours. The higher elevations above 3500' will pick up several inches of snow with the highest amounts along the TN line in the Smokies where up to 6 - 8" of snow is likely by midday on Friday. Temps tonight will bottom out to the single digits above 4500', while the valleys dip into the mid - upper teens and with NW winds around 20 - 40mph, wind chill values will dip below zero for a good portion of the region; translation, bundle up if you venture out to play in the snow!
Christmas Day will be brutally cold across the region with temps only reaching the mid teens above 4000', while the valleys struggle to break into the mid 20's! Toss in NW winds around 15 - 25mph with gusts up to 40mph and we'll continue to deal with sub zero wind chills across the region. Light - moderate snow will falling across a portion of the region as the sun rises on Christmas Day and coverage will scale back to the TN line by the early afternoon hours, ending by the evening hours. Wind whipped flurries will fall throughout the day for the rest of SW NC under a mix of high clouds and periods of sunshine after midday. Overnight lows settle into the single digits - mid teens depending upon elevation under clearing skies and westerly winds will eventually wind down to a light breeze after midnight.
The weekend looks gorgeous with sunshine overhead both days and temps warming from the mid 30's - mid 40's Saturday to the low 40's - mid 50's by Sunday. Overnight lows dip into the low 20's Saturday night for the valleys, while the ridgelines hold to the low 30's.
We'll stop here but mention a weak cold front arrives Sunday night that will bring scattered snow showers to the TN line, followed by high clouds Monday and sunshine Tuesday. We'll circle back Saturday morning but check in over time on our social media accounts to let us know how much snow fell at your location!