Spring - Like Saturday; Light Rain Sat PM
Good morning folks! The rain event is underway and 2020 is behind us as we kick off a new year, one that hopefully is not as chaotic and uncertain. We'll experience rain throughout the day and if you are not working and at home, this should be a great setup to catch up on sleep or perhaps cozy up with a good book. Showers wind down later tonight and as the front passes through the region shortly after midnight, clearing skies will take over just before sunrise on Saturday. Sunshine will sit overhead on Saturday with spring like temps across the region, followed by a short lived round of rain Saturday night that will peak in coverage around midnight. High clouds will be leftover from the passing rain, setting up a partly sunny Sunday with temps 10 - 14 degrees cooler than Saturday. A light round of precip passes through the region once again Sunday night, enough to spark light snow across the TN line but not enough to make it into the more populated areas and valleys. We'll then enjoy a stretch of dry weather Monday through Wednesday with temps running 3 - 6 degrees above normal for early January. Our next round of rain should arrive Thursday or Friday of next week, with the following weekend possibly dry but we are to far out to have any confidence.
Saturday will be downright gorgeous for early January as temps soar to the low - mid 60's in the valleys under sunny skies. Clouds build as we near sunset and light rain will break out during the evening hours, peaking around midnight and quickly winding down closer to sunrise on Sunday. This is due to a low pressure system riding along the stalled front to our southeast, pushing just enough moisture our way to develop light rain across the area. We'll pick up 0.10 - 0.25" of rain from this event, with overnight lows settling into the low 30's - low 40's depending upon elevation.
Colder air will be wrapped into the region as the low departs to the east on Sunday, capping temps to the upper 30's above 4000', while the valleys hit 50°F under partly sunny skies. Some light snow or flurries are possible around sunrise for the favored NW flow locations but this will end quickly after sunrise and high clouds will make up the rest of the action on Sunday. A second round of precip is possible Sunday night, this time for the TN line and nearby ridgelines and temps will be cold for snow to fall, but intensities will be very light and not enough to produce any accumulations; overnight lows in the mid 20's - low 30's.
Monday through Wednesday brings us mostly sunny skies and temps in the low 40's - low 50's Monday, warming to the low 40's - mid 50's Wednesday afternoon. Normal high temp for Cullowhee in early January is 48°F, so not too far off from average. Speaking of average, since we are now in 2021, the climatological normal period has shifted from 1981 - 2010 to 1991 - 2020 (30 years, adjusted every decade). Overnight lows settle into the mid 20's - low 30's each night under mostly clear skies.
We'll stop here but before we go we should mention a rain event is likely Thursday or Friday of next week. Our next discussion will come out Sunday mid - late morning.