Several Rounds of Light Snow; COLD Saturday
Good morning folks! Freezing fog is in play this morning with diamond dust falling in spots, while over in Canton the Evergreen Paper Mill is creating a localized impact, adding just enough moisture to the freezing fog for light snow and continuous diamond dust to fall, resulting in a heavy dusting in locations within the city limits; see our Facebook or Twitter accounts for pictures. We'll enjoy a mostly sunny day today (Wednesday), followed by passing clouds tonight and another, even warmer, sunny day for Thursday. Clouds build Thursday night ahead of a weak cold front that is scheduled to pass overhead during the morning hours on Friday and although moisture levels look weak, light snow will fall across the higher elevations with a dusting possible for Cataloochee Ski Area. Eventually NW flow will take over before the afternoon hours on Friday and this will keep light snow showers and flurries going along the TN line, while the rest of us deal with passing clouds, strong winds, and noticeably colder temps compared to Thursday. The light snow Friday is our first round. The second round will move in Friday night and continue into the early afternoon hours on Saturday and this will also be a NW flow favored event with light snowfall rates and perhaps a touch higher totals, with an inch likely for Cataloochee Ski Area. Sunday brings sunshine back to the region but this will be short lived as the models show a third snow event arriving Sunday night into Monday morning, this one also a NW flow event but with much higher totals for the favored locations; several inches in the Smokies and 1 - 2" for Cataloochee Ski Area (just in time for Martin Luther King Jr. Day). Sunshine is likely to take over just before sunset on Monday and continue into Tuesday, with a fourth round of precip showing up on the models for Tuesday night into Wednesday.
Enjoy the warmer weather today and Thursday as much colder temps push into the area this weekend. Temps today will reach the low - mid 40's above 3500', while the valleys push into the low - mid 50's. We hit the repeat button for Thursday with another round of sunshine and temps are expected to climb a degree or two higher compared to Wednesday, coupled with strong SW winds around 10 - 20mph. Overnight lows tonight dip into the low - upper 20's depending upon elevation and settle into the mid 20's - low 30's Thursday night under increasing clouds.
A round of light snow will occur Friday morning but coverage should be very isolated and mainly confined to the TN line, however the models show a second round of moisture pushing into the region as cold air advection ramps up after midday. This second round is when we could see light accumulations for the NW flow snow favored locations but for most of us across the rest of SW NC, we'll experience passing clouds, intermittent wind whipped flurries, and temps only reaching the upper 20's - low 40's depending upon elevation (a 10 - 12 degree drop from Thursday). Light and isolated snow showers will continue overnight into Saturday with temps dipping into the upper teens - mid 20's depending upon elevation.
Saturday will be similar to Friday although a bit more sunshine is likely to peak through the passing cloud cover, especially after the early afternoon hours. Light snow and flurries will continue till roughly midday and temps will only make it to the mid 20's above 4000', while the valleys struggle to reach the upper 30's; not the best day to do yard work. Overnight lows dip into the mid teens - low 20's depending upon elevation under gradually clearing skies.
Sunday will salvage the weekend but only with sunshine as temps remain below average, holding to the upper 20's - low 30's above 4000', warming to the low 40's across the valleys. Clouds build closer to sunset, perhaps later during the evening hours and the models point to a stronger shortwave passing through the region after midnight. This will trigger another NW flow snow event and result in accumulating snowfall for the NW flow favored locations such as the Smokies, northern Haywood county, and Great Balsams, with 1 - 2" possible for Cataloochee Ski Area by sunrise on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. One thing to note is the MLK weekend is typically the busiest weekend for the slopes and this timing of colder air and several shots of light accumulations couldn't have lined up any better as Cat will be able to make snow starting Thursday late afternoon, likely continuing (if they so choose) all the way into Tuesday afternoon as they will be subfreezing the entire time.
We'll stop here and circle back Friday morning with a new discussion, likely with light snow and flurries falling. ENJOY!