Soaking Rains Mon - Thur; Slightly Cooler
Good morning folks! The warm and above average temps are behind us as we shift into a wet and cooler pattern this weekend. Most of the region will remain dry today (Saturday), however the ridgelines will experience isolated showers, with coverage slightly higher along the Highlands Plateau as moisture levels ramp up later in the day. We are expecting anywhere from 4.5 - 6" of rain along the southern sections of Macon, Jackson, and Haywood counties (including far northern Transylvania County) from Sunday into Thursday, with several rounds of heavy rain making up the bulk of the totals. Shifting focus toward the N GA line, the Unicoi, Snowbird, and Cowee Mountains have a shot at picking up 3.5 - 4.5" of rain over the five day period, while further into SW NC in places like Franklin, Sylva, Bryson City, and Cullowhee, a 2 - 3" range is expected. The driest area during this five day period seems to be central Haywood County as it deals with downsloping off the Plott Balsams and Great Balsams. Scattered shower coverage begins early Sunday afternoon for the region, expanding to widespread coverage during the overnight hours, scaling back slightly Monday morning. A second round of widespread rain swings into the area Monday afternoon, with a third and much stronger period of rain occurring Tuesday night into Wednesday. All of this is due to a combination of high pressure pushing moisture into our region Saturday, followed by a frontal passage Sunday afternoon and then an upper level low taking over Monday, ensuring a steady flow of moisture and disturbances Monday through Wednesday. This will also hold temps to normal levels with highs only reaching the upper 50's - low 70's depending upon elevation Sunday through Friday.
This prolonged rainfall is likely to impact the color change currently peaking above 5800', however the mid elevations (3500 - 5800') should be ok, as they are roughly 7 - 10 days from peaking, which occurs after this stretch of wet and stormy weather.
We'll kick off the timeline on Sunday and if you need to be outside to do some yard work or squeeze in a hike, then do so before noon because shower coverage should expand to scattered levels after midday. For the Highlands Plateau and escarpment area, showers are likely to begin as soon as the mid morning hours, but coverage will be isolated till later in the day. A front swings into the region around 1 - 3pm, but will essentially slow down to crawl and help funnel additional moisture into the region through the work and school week. Temps will reach the low 60's above 5500', while the valleys warm to the low - mid 70's, all under mostly cloudy skies, becoming noticeably muggy before sunset. Temps overnight settle into the mid - upper 50's across the region, alongside scattered showers that should scale back to isolated coverage by sunrise.
Monday through Wednesday will be a repeat of sorts with soaking rains each day, although we will experience rounds of rain as opposed to one prolonged event. A round of regionwide showers develops Monday afternoon and again Tuesday afternoon, with the latter being much stronger due to an uptick in rainfall intensities and the inclusion of thunderstorms. Sky Valley - Highlands - Cashiers - Lake Toxaway area will be the target zone for the heaviest rainfall and we expect roughly 2 - 3" of rain to fall from Tues AM - Wed PM in these locations. Temps all the while will hold to the upper 50's - low 70's each day, with overnight lows settling into the low - upper 50's; no 40's at any elevation.
We'll stop here but taking a quick look at late next week, it does seem shower activity will wind down late Thursday as the upper level low moves north, however a few showers are likely Fri - Sun with some sunshine mixed in as moisture levels remain elevated (but not high). This is likely to change so check back in on Monday as we dive into more detail past Wednesday. ENJOY!