Wet Snow above 5500'; Sunny this Weekend
Good morning folks! The threat for severe weather was lowered this morning and we only expect heavy rain to swing through this morning, with all precip ending later this evening. The upper level low will eventually kick out of the area late tonight and in doing so will pull colder air into the region from the NW, briefly setting up a window for snow above 5500' tonight; a dusting of snow possible on ridgelines and peaks above 5800'. Moisture will gradually dry out on Friday as high pressure influences the region with a northeasterly wind, under cloudy skies to start the day, becoming thin and scattered as the day progresses. We'll fully dry out by sunrise on Saturday and sunny skies will be on tap Saturday through Tuesday of next week as the high pressure continues to influence the Southeast. Temps will be slow to moderate over the weekend and although we deal with below freezing temps each night beginning Friday night, we still manage to climb into the low 60's Saturday and Sunday. There will be a steady breeze on Saturday that will make it feel a touch cooler compared to Sunday; maybe bring the long sleeve for shaded hikes. The overall flow will become more southerly by early next week and temps respond, pushing back into the upper 60's Monday and Tuesday. It seems that Sunday night may be the last sub freezing night regionwide, with one last shot of cold Monday night for the higher elevations. Confidence with the models drops by Wednesday, with some laying out a light rain event and others a 36 hour rain event with periods of heavy rain. We'll mention the possibility this far out and circle back on Saturday with a few more details, but plan for rain to return by the middle part of next week.
This current rain event stretching back to Wednesday morning has produced some very healthy rain totals, with numerous sites across SW NC reporting in excess of 2.5" and handful are above the 3.5" mark. The 24 hour rainfall totals ending this morning (Thursday) at 9:30am have a handful of 2" plus reports out of Otto, Highlands, Lake Toxaway, and Stecoah Gap, while Unaka continues to steal the show with a 3.4" report! We'll wait till this is all said and done circle back on Saturday with a two day rain event total.
Fun numbers aside, we'll enjoy a warm, spring-like day across the area after a line of thunderstorms traverses the region before noon. Shower activity is still likely the rest of the day but coverage drops down to isolated by the mid afternoon hours and eventually fades down to nothing by the late evening hours. Temps this afternoon will soar to the mid 50's along the ridgelines, while the valleys enjoy the upper 60's - low 70's. Overnight lows drop like a rock tonight as they reach the upper 20's - low 40's depending upon elevation, as we transition to a cold air advection setup out of the NW. This will bring a brief round of moisture to the region tonight and light snow showers are likely for the highest elevations (5500' +), with a dusting possible for the highest peaks and ridgelines closer to the TN line.
We'll be dry on Friday but it may take most of the day to fully dry out the ground as high clouds stream overhead as the upper level low continues to influence the region, even after it departs the area before sunrise. Temps will hold to the upper 30's - upper 50's (possibly hitting the 60°F southwest of Franklin) depending upon elevation, alongside winds out of the northeast around 10 - 20mph, gusting to 35mph along the ridgelines. Overnight lows dip into the mid 20's - low 30's depending upon elevation under gradually clearing skies, reminding everyone that the battle between winter and spring continues across the region.
The weekend is looking gorgeous, even if temps are a touch chilly each morning, because sunshine will be overhead both days and push temps to the upper 50's - low 60's Saturday and low - mid 60's Sunday. Overnight lows return to the low - upper 20's Saturday night (a temperature inversion is possible), warming slightly Sunday night with overnight lows dipping to the mid 20's - low 30's, both under clear skies.
Monday and Tuesday will be much of the same (sunny skies, clear nights), but temps will warm to the upper 60's as we transition to a southerly flow ahead of the frontal passage Wednesday. Overnight lows will rise above the freezing mark for the lower elevations Monday night, settling into the upper 30's, however the higher elevations will still below below freezing with a low around 30°F above 4000'. All of SW NC should be above freezing Tuesday night through the end of next week.
We'll circle back Saturday morning and hopefully by then we can provide some details for the next round of rain, slated to arrive sometime Wednesday.