Light Rain Fri; Soaking Rainfall Saturday
Good afternoon folks! The rain chances for today have come and gone with amounts much lower than previously forecasted (a tenth of an inch along the Plateau compared to the 1" in our previous discussion). We'll see breezy conditions wind down overnight into Thursday morning, with sunshine dominating the region on Thursday as high pressure slowly exits to the northeast. A warm front will cross the region Friday morning and take most of the day to exit, followed by a much stronger front on Saturday. A tenth of an inch of rain is likely on Friday, however we may see an hour or two of light snow along the Plateau and nearby escarpment early Friday morning, before kicking over to a light rain by the mid morning hours. Elevations above 4500' have a shot at picking up a skiff of snow, but accumulation coverage will be very isolated. The frontal passage Saturday should allow for a decent supply of moisture into the region, setting the stage for 0.75 - 1.5" of rain to fall across SW NC depending upon location; highest amounts along the TN and SC state lines. All precip ends Saturday evening and high pressure will take over on Sunday, lingering well into the middle of next week, allowing temps to moderate from slightly below normal on Sunday to well above normal by Tues/Wed.
The timeline starts out Thursday morning and we'll enjoy sunny skies across the region alongside temps warming to the mid 40's - upper 50's depending upon elevation, which is pretty close to normal for mid December. Clouds fill in during the afternoon hours and light precip will begin during the evening hours with coverage peaking to scattered during the pre dawn hours. Most of SW NC will pick up a tenth of an inch of rain, while those who live above 4500' experiencing a brief window of light snow just before and shortly after sunrise. Accumulations will be minimal (if they occur at all) with the most we can hope for being a skiff or trace amount in isolated spots due to isolated precip coverage. Overnight lows settle into the low - upper 30's depending upon elevation.
Friday ends the work and school week with cloudy skies alongside spotty, light rain showers, which will add another tenth of an inch of rain to the running total from Thursday. Temps will be the silver lining as they climb to the low 50's above 5000', pushing into the low - mid 60's across the lower elevations due to an uptick in southerly flow as the warm front crosses the region; will feel more like spring outside than winter. Overnight lows settle into the upper 40's - mid 50's depending upon elevation, with precip sticking around as we transition from southerly to westerly flow after midnight.
Although the front will take most of the morning to cross the region on Saturday, we expect showers to hang around all day, peaking in coverage and intensities around midday. Unfortunately this translates to a soggy day outside and perhaps one better spent inside, but at least temps will be in the mid 50's - upper 60's and not the typical upper 40's we deal with most winters. Roughly 0.75 - 1.5" of rain will fall across the region and because the front is moving west to east, the TN line is likely to see the highest totals but upslope flow just before the frontal passage will allow the Plateau to sneak in an inch of rain before its all said and done. Highlands still needs 3.21" of rain to hit the 100" milestone on the year and although this can occur in one event, it may come down to the wire this year. Overnight lows bottom out to the low - upper 20's and wind whipped flurries are likely for the TN line and nearby ridgelines late Saturday night as precip dries up.
Sunday through Tuesday of next week will be sunny, with temps warming to the upper 30's - mid 50's Sunday afternoon, eventually leveling off to the mid 50's - upper 60's by Tuesday afternoon. The "December Torch" is almost here as the models show temps running 10 - 15 degrees above normal from Monday (13th) through the following Monday (20th).
We'll stop here and circle back on Friday, posting the next discussion sometime around midday. ENJOY!