Four Days of Rain then Fall like Weather
Good afternoon folks! All attention has turned toward the end of next week as colder temps, dry air, and true fall like weather push into the region, after a potent front pushes through the region sometime Wednesday. This will bring us our first regionwide cool down this season, with numerous high elevation sites dipping into the 30's, while the valleys settle into the 40's beginning Thursday night. Not to get too far ahead of ourselves here, but all the ingredients are on the table for a picture perfect end to next week, but first we'll need to grind our way through 4.5 days of higher humidity, coupled with regionwide rain chances. Speaking of rain, forecasted totals have increased since we last spoke, with 2 - 3" of rain likely from Sunday morning into Wednesday night for a select number of ridgelines and ranges that we will mention below, while the rest of SW NC (mainly the interior portions) pick up 0.75 - 1.5" of rain over the four day period. Sunday's rain chances will occur mostly during the late afternoon hours, while Monday offers up a smattering of light - moderate showers throughout the day, scaling back slightly Tuesday morning, only to fire back up as we approach sunset, spilling over into the overnight hours into Wednesday. The front looks to arrive sometime Wednesday and its during this time we expect the heaviest rain to arrive, with an all day washout possible. Once the front sweeps through the region we'll notice a drastic change in conditions, going from muggy and slightly warm (mid - upper 70's) on Wednesday to dry, sunny, breezy and much cooler on Thursday (upper 60's - low 70's). This front and subsequent cooldown should act as a great catalyst for color change, although cold weather alone is not the main reason for the changing color.
We'll kick off the timeline on Sunday and we'll experience a similar setup to Saturday, with high clouds passing overhead, while short lived periods of sunshine help fire up isolated showers before noon. Most of the action will hold off to the late afternoon hours, with temps reaching the upper 70's - low 80's depending upon how much sunshine breaks through the cloud cover at your location. Most of SW NC will pick up a quarter inch of rain from sunrise Sunday to sunrise Monday, however the Highlands Plateau, Snowbird Mountains, Unicoi Mountains, and Cowee Mountains have a decent shot at picking up 0.75 - 1". Overnight lows settle into the upper 50's - mid 60's once again, with shower activity fizzling out before midnight.
Monday keeps light - moderate showers going throughout the day, peppering the region as southeasterly flow continues across the area. This will favor the Highlands Plateau, a good portion of Transylvania County, and the southern portion of the Great Balsams, with a steady drizzle possible in between passing showers. Temps warm to the low 60's - mid 70's depending upon elevation, which is the only silver lining to the mostly cloudy sky cover we'll experience all day. Temps dip back into the upper 50's - mid 60's overnight into Tuesday, with scattered coverage continuing throughout the night. Rainfall totals from sunrise Monday to sunrise Tuesday will be lighter than Sunday, only amounting to a 0.50 - 0.75" along the Plateau, while the interior valleys manage a 0.10 - 0.25" of rain.
Tuesday will be a touch warmer than Monday as cloud cover thins a bit ahead of the approaching front, but we'll still deal with a smattering of light - moderate showers all day long. Temps reach the upper 70's in the valleys, while the highest ridgelines above 5000' hold to the mid 60's. Another quarter - half inch of rain is likely over the 24 hour period.
Wednesday will be our wettest day of the week with most locations across SW NC picking up 0.50 - 0.75", however this go around we'll lump all major ridgelines and ranges (Smokies, Great Balsams, Cowee, Unicoi, Snowbird, the Highlands Plateau, etc.) together in picking up 1 - 1.5" over the 24 hour period. Thunderstorms are likely as the front approaches the region and we are not sure exactly when the front will reach our region, but it does seem it will exit the area no later than the evening hours. This will translate to clearing skies and breezy conditions Wednesday night, setting the stage for pure sunshine and a gorgeous fall like day on Thursday.
Temps hit the low 60's - mid 70's on Wednesday and only make it to the mid 50's - low 70's Thursday. This may not seem like much of a cooldown, but with dry air in place it will feel cooler than the actual temp, especially in the shade. Temps in the 30's and 40's arrive Thursday night and we'll enjoy slightly below normal temps Friday into next weekend, which is perfect timing for the Mountain Heritage Day Festival at WCU on 9/25/21.
We'll stop here and circle back Monday morning around 10:30am. ENJOY!