Strong T - Storms Monday; Cooler Next Week
Good morning folks! It's a perfect day to be outside but pack some patience before you head out as droves of people visit the area to check out the color change, mainly along the Parkway and other high elevation roadways, with reports of traffic jams and little to no movement along the Parkway as of 10am (mainly Craggy Gardens area). The color is beginning to turn and will continue to keep its current turnover pace through the weekend and next week, with another cold snap expected late next week, coupled with a remote possibility for the season's first snow (this is merely a mention on the models, nothing guaranteed this far out in time). We'll notice a shift in the weather tomorrow (Sunday) as southerly flow ramps up, while an upper level ridge slides overhead, allowing warmer temps to return to the region. A cold front will cross the region Monday afternoon and bring with it a round of regionwide rain, with embedded thunderstorms that will lay down heavy downpours and a window of strong winds, but this should be short lived, with the front to the east of the region by sunrise on Tuesday. This sets up Tuesday with mostly sunny skies and fair weather will roll into Wednesday morning, with showers returning later that day as a warm front approaches the region. Later in the week an upper level trough will move into the Southeast and become cut off, transitioning into an upper level low (ULL) that may (we stress the word may here) linger into next weekend and this is where the potential exists for our 1st snowflake of the season. This is not a regionwide chance but instead the classic NW flow snow setup we experience numerous times each winter, so don't get too excited, however if you really want to see snow fall, then a trip to the TN line or a hike along the NW facing ridgelines like the Cataloochee Divide, Plott Balsams, Smokies, Great Balsams and so on may be where you can find a few flakes sometime Friday into Sunday. For the 95% of the population who do not live in NW Flow favored areas, we'll see temps drop from the mid - upper 60's Wednesday to the low - mid 50's Friday across the valleys, while the ridgelines struggle to climb out of the 30's and mid 40's.
Back to the near term, Sunday wraps up the weekend on a sunny yet warm note, with temps reaching the mid 70's across the valleys, while the ridgelines push to the low 60's. Temps bottom out to the mid 40's - low 50's with a slow buildup of cloud cover after midnight.
Monday will start out with some sunshine poking through the broken cloud cover, but mostly cloudy skies quickly take over before the mid - late morning hours, followed by scattered showers around the early - mid afternoon hours. Thunderstorms will race across the region later in the day, closer to sunset, and exit the region before the late evening hours, with showers lingering into the pre dawn hours, ending before sunrise on Tuesday. Temps reach the upper 50's - low 70's depending upon elevation on Monday, settle into the low - upper 40's Monday night after the front exits the region and rebound to the low 50's - mid 60's on Tuesday in the post frontal airmass. Winds out of the west will keep a chilly feel to the air, especially in the shade but overall Tuesday looks like a perfect fall day across the region; overnight lows settle into the low - upper 30's (a change from our previous discussion).
Wednesday through Friday is a low confidence timeframe, mainly due to the uncertainty tied to the upper level low (how strong will it be, how long it will linger, etc). but what we do know is the fair weather will come to an end sometime Wednesday, most likely later in the day with clouds building and isolated showers developing closer to sunset. Thursday features cloudy skies with some sunshine poking through and scattered light showers as southerly flow remains a prominent feature before the ULL arrives. Temps reach the low 50's - low 60's depending upon elevation Thursday and fall to the upper 40's - mid 50's Friday as the ULL pushes into the region.
We'll stop here and circle back Monday morning with a better handle on the late week event and the possibility for our first flakes of the season. Again, this is not a regionwide event, just our first shot at snow for the highest NW facing ridgelines in our region, but still exciting nonetheless. ENJOY!