Rain Returns this Wknd; Spring Forward
Good morning folks! Since we last spoke on Wednesday the forecast has trended wetter for this afternoon and weekend, however we are not expecting a washout, but the return of scattered light showers are a good bet. Don't go canceling your outdoor plans but do plan for a passing light shower, especially if you are going to hike and explore the higher ridgelines above 5000'. A cold front slips across the region late tonight and hangs to our south most of the weekend, with southwesterly flow increasing over the weekend, setting the stage for light shower development. A stronger cold front approaches the region late Monday and will prompt regionwide showers late Monday afternoon into Tuesday morning, with an inch of rain possible for all of SW NC; much higher totals along the escarpment. The models differ as to when the rain will end on Tuesday but for now we are going with regionwide coverage winding down later in the day to isolated coverage and holding this level of coverage into Wednesday morning. There is a good chance we'll experience a second round of regionwide rainfall Wednesday into Thursday of next week, but the details remain fuzzy as the models differ between an upper level low passage or a wedge like setup, both of which bring us rain but one could be heavier than the other for SW NC. All in all, we hope you have enjoyed and taken advantage of the recent dry spell because rain is returning to the region this weekend and ramps up to regionwide coverage early next week. Temps all the while will continue to remain above freezing regionwide (sorry snow lovers) and afternoon highs will remain above normal today through the end of next week with Monday being the only exception (a normal high in the upper 50's).
We'll start the timeline on Friday night seeing how most of the morning is already behind us. Friday night features the passing cold front from the north and it should settle south of the region by Saturday morning. Scattered light showers are likely and temps will settle into the mid 40's - low 50's across the region, with rainfall totals under a tenth of an inch regionwide through the night.
Saturday and Sunday will not be perfect as we deal with more cloud cover than sunshine each day, coupled with passing light showers each day, but it will be warm. Temps will climb to the low 50's - mid 60's Saturday afternoon, pushing even further into the mid 50's - low 70's on Sunday as southwest flow ramps up across the Carolinas. Rainfall totals will remain under a quarter inch for the entire weekend and peak coverage should occur Saturday morning and again Sunday afternoon. Overnight lows settle into the mid 40's - low 50's each night, although Sunday night is likely to be a degree or two cooler than Saturday night.
Monday will be our coldest day of the week, but temps will reach normal levels as they climb into the upper 50's across the lower elevations under cloudy skies. If you live in Haywood County you'll be a few degrees cooler and if you live closer to the N GA state line, you may end up in the low 60's. Regionwide showers push through later in the day and SW NC is on track to pick up an inch of rain Monday into Tuesday, with 1.5 - 2" possible for the escarpment.
Tuesday through Thursday is not set in stone but the forecast as of today shows precip winding down Tuesday evening to isolated coverage, holding to this level through Wednesday morning and possibly ramping up to widespread coverage Wednesday evening into Thursday. This second round of rain could be a heavy rain producer and exceed totals from the Monday - Tuesday event. Temps all the while will go from the low 50's - mid 60's Tuesday to the upper 60's - low 70's Wednesday, possibly Thursday if the wedge setup is not as strong as modeled.
We'll stop here and circle back on Sunday, which is a good spot to provide an update for the incoming rain event Monday into Tuesday and we hope to have more details for the Wednesday - Thursday event, but upper level lows are notorious for holding their cards close to the chest.