Three Rounds of Light Snow Fri - Sun
Good morning folks! The first round of wintry precip is almost over as we type this discussion, with reports of light snow and sleet across the higher elevations and little to no accumulations. The cold front is moving across the region this morning and will be followed by cold air advection this afternoon, which will result in temps much cooler than yesterday by roughly 12 - 14 degrees! An upper level low will pass north of the region Saturday and swing a shortwave across our region before midday, however the overall flow will not be a classic NW flow but more of a southwest or westerly direction and this will shift who picks up the highest snow totals during this second round of wintry precip. Snow aside, Saturday will be our coldest day this week and likely all of next week too with temps running 7 - 9 degrees below normal for mid January, capping high temps to the mid 30's across the valleys! Sunday brings us a short lived reprieve from wintry precip and we previously called for sunshine but passing clouds are more likely based on the latest models, holding temps a few degrees shy of normal. Our third round of wintry precip swings through Sunday night as yet another upper level low pushes moisture our way and this round also will be light, but with it being an overnight event the chance is slightly higher for light accumulations across the region. This will be a quick hitting event and sunny skies will take over before midday on Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Monday) with temps holding to the low 40's across the lower elevations. Sunshine continues into Tuesday and a pattern change emerges Wednesday, with above normal temps and rain likely to end the week.
Today (Friday) will feature clearing skies once the front pushes east and temps will rise to the low 30's - low 40's depending upon elevation, with westerly winds around 10 - 25mph across the higher elevations. Temps tonight dip into the upper teens - mid 20's and clouds will build during the evening hours ahead of the next round of wintry precip.
The models show light snow breaking out across the region before sunrise on Saturday but coverage will not be widespread, more sporadic for the majority of the region, coupled with a focused line of activity along the TN line. We mentioned earlier that the southwest - westerly flow will result in totals that are different than a typical NW flow event and this translates to the southwestern counties picking up higher totals than say the northern portion of Haywood County or directly along the TN line. Specifically, the Cherohala Skyway, the Unicoi Mountains, Cheoah Mountains, and Snowbird Mountains will pick up 2 - 3" with higher amounts at peaks above 4800' - 5000'; good time to go snow chasing in Joyce Kilmer. For the rest of us we will experience spotty snow showers throughout the morning hours and there is a slight chance for some convection, which translates to an isolated chance for a snow squall that is capable of laying down accumulations very quickly under heavy snowfall rates. This being said, the chance remains low but we should mention this for those traveling before the mid afternoon. The favored NW flow locations will still see steady snowfall throughout the morning hours but totals should be limited to 1 - 2" for places like Cataloochee Ski Area and the Great Balsams. Temps Saturday will be frigid, only hitting the mid 20's above 4500', while the valleys warm to the mid 30's, alongside westerly winds around 10 - 25mph. Snow showers wind down by the mid afternoon hours and end before sunset, with overnight lows in the mid teens - mid 20's depending upon elevation.
Passing clouds make up most of the action on Sunday and although temps will be technically warmer than Saturday, it will not feel that warm under the cloud cover coupled with the lower, winter angle of the sun; low 30's - low 40's depending upon elevation. Our third round of wintry precip moves in Sunday night and coverage may be just enough (scattered - widespread) to lay down a light dusting across the region, with an inch or two in the favored NW flow locations. We'll dive into more details for this round in our next post Sunday morning.
MLK Day is looking pleasant by mid - late January standards with highs in the low 30's - low 40's under clearing skies; a great day to hit the slopes. Tuesday begins our march toward warmer weather and a pattern change looks to begin Wednesday, with temps in the upper 30's - low 50's Tuesday, warming to the mid - upper 50's by week's end alongside regionwide rain chances Thursday into Friday.
Enjoy the spotty snow showers Saturday and we'll circle back with a new discussion Sunday morning.