Rain to Snow Sunday - Monday; COLD Tuesday
Good morning folks! Everything is still a go for the moderate rain event Sunday evening, followed by a transition to a NW flow snow event Monday into Tuesday morning that will favor the usual suspects directly along the TN line and nearby NW facing ridgelines. Deep cold will pour into the region as NW flow gets underway, setting up a very cold day on Tuesday with temps running 15 - 18 degrees below normal for early December (even with sunshine overhead)! Temps return to normal levels by Wednesday under more sunshine and it looks like we'll get away with a third day of sunshine on Thursday, followed by increasing clouds on Friday. The models are hinting at a possible second snow event Friday into next weekend but the current split among the models result in two very different solutions and because confidence is low we will keep it at a mention for now, holding back any details till Monday/Tuesday. For those keeping up with Cataloochee Ski Area's snowmaking efforts, this upcoming week will be a perfect window to get a sizeable base down that should allow them to reopen for the season.
Today's (Saturday) weather will be pleasant with sunny skies overhead and temps warming to the upper 40's - low 60's depending upon elevation, which is 6 - 7 degrees above normal for late November. Temps tonight will be capped to the upper 30's across the region as clouds slowly fill in across the region after midnight.
Thin clouds will sit overhead to start the day on Sunday and clouds will thicken as the day moves along, holding temps to the upper 40's - upper 50's depending upon elevation. Isolated showers will develop around midday and slowly expand with each passing hour, peaking at widespread coverage by the evening hours with rainfall intensities also ramping up to moderate - heavy as the bulk of the rain moves into the region. Rainfall totals will average out to an inch across SW NC, however the escarpment will likely pick up anywhere from 1.75 - 2.25" due to upslope flow. Overnight lows settle into the mid 30's - low 40's depending upon elevation and we do not expect any snow to fall during this timeframe as we need NW flow to ramp up and bring colder air to the region.
Monday will be a very active day as NW flow becomes established across WNC, with rain changing over to snow above 3500' before midday and then dropping to the valley floor sometime during the early - mid afternoon hours. Snowfall will be focused along the TN line and nearby NW facing ridgelines and as with most NW flow snow events, the valleys will likely experience a few passing snow showers with flurries in between, whereas the favored areas will experience snowfall with varying rates throughout most of the day. This will result in accumulations around a dusting up to a half inch for the valleys and towns like Bryson City, Sylva/Cullowhee, and Waynesville (not much south of these locations), whereas the TN line could pick anywhere from 1 - 2" when its all said and done. Temps Monday will only climb a few degrees to the upper 40's - low 50's across the lower elevations (upper 30's above 4000') and then drop during the afternoon hours as NW flow brings colder air to the region. Keep in mind we'll also experience NW winds around 10 - 20mph throughout the day, with gust up to 30 - 40mph along the ridgelines. NW flow continues overnight into Tuesday and temps bottom out to the upper teens - mid 20's depending upon elevation, with winds maintaining their strength throughout the night.
Tuesday will be our coldest day of the season with temps only making it to the low - mid 20's above 4000', warming to the low - mid 30's across the lower elevations. Wind speeds should relax a bit but we'll maintain a steady light breeze throughout the day out of the NW, all under sunny skies. Temps bottom out to the low - mid teens Tuesday night under clear skies.
Wednesday and Thursday bring us more sunshine and normal temps for early December with highs reaching the low 40's - low 50's each afternoon. As we mentioned earlier there is a second chance for snow late next week but because the models remain split in their solutions, we will hold back on any details as the forecast is likely to change several times between now and early next week.
We'll stop here and circle back Monday afternoon with a new discussion, however check out this season's first SNOWCAST map on the home page. Enjoy the snow!