Snow Tues Night; Low 60's Thursday!
Good morning folks! Cloud cover has filled in across the region this morning and although we may seen it thin a bit this afternoon, we expect clouds to continue across the area the rest of the day. Temps will be slightly below normal this afternoon but we should warm up nicely tomorrow and Thursday, cooling down slightly Friday into Saturday. There is a growing chance for a round of light snow tonight across the higher elevations, with chances higher for those closer to the SC state line as opposed to the TN line; more details below. This round of rain and snow Tuesday night will be quick hitting and exit the area Wednesday morning, followed by a sunny afternoon as westerly flow takes over as the low pressure system departs to the northeast. Temps warm even further on Thursday with full sunshine overhead and many of us will see temps in the low 60's, which is roughly 4 - 6 degrees above average across the valleys for early March. Temps cool down slightly on Friday by a few degrees and we should be able to enjoy another round of sunshine, with clouds building closer to sunset. There is a small chance for some light snow across the highest elevations late Friday night but this should be a smaller, lighter event than the one we'll experience tonight. Passing clouds start the day Saturday but sunshine should take over before sunset, setting up a gorgeous end to the weekend on Sunday, coupled with temps climbing back to the low - mid 60's! All in all, not a terrible week ahead with only two shots of light, wintry weather, mixed with brief periods of spring like weather and a gorgeous end to the weekend.
The chances for wintry weather tonight has grown since our previous discussion Sunday morning and a few nuances have cropped up as well. These include a higher chance for snow if you live across the Southern Highlands Plateau (Highlands - Big Ridge/Lake Glenville - Cashiers - Lake Toxaway) and a lower end chance for accumulating snow the closer you are to the TN line. This being said, it seems all of SW NC will see at least a few flakes and the deeper valleys like Bryson City, Cullowhee, and Dillsboro may deal with a rain/snow mix. Accumulations of 0.5 - 1" are likely above 4000' across the Southern Highlands Plateau, along the Cowee Mountains, Unicoi Mountains, Snowbird Mountains, and southern end of the Great Balsams. If you cross Ellijay or anywhere near Yellow Mountain to get to and from work, its possible you may encounter some snow covered spots tomorrow morning, so please use caution when driving before 9am. Temps tonight will settle into the upper 20's - mid 30's depending upon elevation and the onset of snow should occur during the late evening hours, with peak coverage before midnight and coverage slowly fading to nothing by 8 - 10am.
As the low pressure to the southeast departs tomorrow morning we will transition to a westerly flow and its likely the script flips, to where the TN line experiences wind driven flurries and snow as the Southern Highlands Plateau area experiences declining coverage. This will not be a major event (an inch possible for the favored NW flow areas) but its March and any snow possibility is still exciting to discuss as we inch closer to the spring season. Temps Wednesday warm to the mid 40's - upper 50's but NW winds set up shop and hold steady around 10 - 20mph throughout the day, gusting to 35mph across the higher elevations; at least the sun breaks out after midday. Temps overnight into Thursday settle into the upper 20's for the valleys while the ridgelines hold to the low - mid 30's due to ideal radiational cooling conditions across the area; clear skies, dying winds, and lower dewpoints.
Thursday is the day to skip work if you are itching to be outside, with sunshine overhead all day and temps warming to the upper 40's - low 60's depending upon elevation. Clear skies Thursday night bring temps back down to the upper 20's - mid 30's.
We should end the work and school week with a mostly sunny day but its likely clouds will build closer to sunset, ahead of the next light precip event that will swing through Friday night. High temps cool down slightly to the mid 40's - upper 50's. Much like the event tonight this round will favor the southern portion of the region (Highlands - Cashiers) and its possible our more northern sections around Maggie Valley and Bryson City remain dry. If you live above 4000' then its possible snow falls Friday night but nothing more than a skiff is expected, so no need to change travel plans, this is more of token event with coverage holding to isolated all night long. We'll monitor this timeframe in case coverage increases but for now we only expect token snow showers and a dusting at most for the higher elevations across the Southern Highlands Plateau.
Saturday features passing clouds as the system exits the region, with sunny skies likely before sunset, setting up a sunny Sunday. Temps cool down even further on Saturday to the upper 30's - low 50's but warm back to the mid low 60's on Sunday! We'll stop here and circle back on Thursday with a better look at the Friday night event and the upcoming weekend.