Healthy NW Flow Snow Fri - Sat
Good morning folks! Personal matters kept me from posting yesterday but the extra day ironed out some of the winter weather uncertainties we had for the Friday - Saturday event. As of Wednesday morning the chance for regionwide snow is declining, while chances for NW flow snow are increasing. We already knew NW flow snow would occur but the strength of available moisture has increased, while the duration has stretched into the pre dawn hours on Saturday. The one curveball with this system is if a deformation band develops in E TN and slides across WNC, but we are putting the odds of this occurring around 15% and are leaning toward a strong NW flow snow event favoring the immediate TN line. For those familiar with moderate - strong NW flow snow events, you know places like Bryson City, Dillsboro, Sylva, Cherokee, Maggie Valley, and Waynesville have a chance at picking up light amounts (dusting - 1") when the TN line is projected to pick up 5 - 8". This is the setup we have going into this weekend, while those along the Plateau or in our deeper valleys across Macon, Graham, Clay and Cherokee counties will only experience wind whipped flurries or a stray snow shower; same goes for Cullowhee.
Beyond the natural snow excitement, I'd like to remind folks we are making snow at Innovation Station in Dillsboro for an event on Saturday at noon. It's a free event for folks to come out and enjoy the snow, catered to kids who may want to make a snowman or just have fun. We'll start making snow Friday night and hopefully by mid morning Saturday we'll have a whale (large mound) of snow to play with for those who show up at noon!
Details: Link to Facebook event page
Interested in our snowmaking service? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
The forecast timeline kicks off Thursday and a temperature inversion is likely around sunrise, with the valleys settling into the mid - upper teens Wednesday night, while the ridgelines hold to the low - mid 20's. Sunshine will bring temps to the upper 30's - low 50's later in the day, followed by increasing clouds Thursday night, capping temps to the upper 20's - low 30's regionwide.
Friday rounds out the work and school week on an uninspiring note with mostly cloudy skies overhead, temps in the low 30's - mid 40's, and light wintry precip falling after midday. Most of what falls during the afternoon hours will be a mixed bag of snow and rain across the valleys, with elevations above 4500' holding to all snow, however amounts will be light and accumulations difficult to come by. As the low pressure off the coast pulls away later in the day, we'll transition over to NW flow and snow will begin to crank up along the TN line and nearby ridgelines before sunset, peaking in coverage and intensities around midnight, fizzling out shortly after sunset. Although this is a short lived event, we expect 5 - 8" or more to fall in places like Mt LeConte, scaling back a touch to 3 - 4" for Cataloochee Ski Area, 2 - 3" for Soco Gap and Balsam, fizzling out to a dusting up to an inch in Bryson City, Dillsboro, Sylva, and Waynesville (by sunrise on Saturday). Snow aside, the real impact from this system will be the cold. Temps Friday night plunge into the mid single digits above 4500', while the valleys bottom out to the low teens; NW winds around 10 - 25mph will bring wind chill values below zero after midnight.
Wind speeds lessen as the day moves along Saturday and even though sunny skies will be overhead, temps only warm to the mid teens - upper 20's, which is roughly 15 - 20 degrees below average!!! The entire region remains below freezing from Friday evening through the late morning hours on Sunday. Overnight lows bottom out to upper single digits - mid teens Saturday night under mostly clear skies, rebounding to the upper 20's - mid 40's Sunday afternoon under more sunshine.
Sunshine stretches from Sunday into the middle of next week and temps return to the low - mid 50's Monday and Tuesday; overnight lows in the upper 20's - low 30's across the valleys.
We'll stop here and circle back Friday morning to tweak any details related to the NW flow snow event and we hope to see everyone at Innovation Station in Dillsboro this Saturday! ENJOY!