Windy/Cooler Fri; Picture Perfect Saturday
There are days where you just have to shake your head after botching a forecast and today is one of those days. To be fair, no one, not the NWS or any of the private weather outlets, predicted this much rain would fall but here we are with rainfall totals as high as 10.70" out of Andrews and numerous locations well north of 3". The top five spots go to Andrews (10.70"), Robbinsville (10.27"), Cullowhee/WCU (6.89"), Cowee FD (5.63"), and Snowbird Creek (4.72"). From Unaka up through northern Macon, into northern and central Jackson, and the Panthertown region in southern Jackson, all picked up 3 - 4" of rain, while the rest of SW NC reported 1.5 - 2.75". All of these totals are from Sunday evening into Wednesday morning; we forecasted on the higher end totals around 3.5", so yeah, this was a flop. Specifically, our call for the high end totals across the escarpment were interrupted by the Cowee Mountains interfering with shower development into the Southern Highlands Plateau, in tandem with flow predominately out of the SW as opposed to the preferred SE for the escarpment, which led to lower totals for Highlands, Cashiers, and Lake Toxaway, all three under 3" for the event.
Event breakdown aside, we expect a quiet stretch of weather starting today (Wednesday), stretching into Sunday. There will be two small chances for rain during this period, the first occurring today with only isolated showers across the higher ridgelines and the second, an overnight chance for isolated showers Thursday night. We'll still enjoy sunshine today, a bit more on Thursday, and then full sunshine Friday and Saturday, followed by increasing clouds and late day showers on Sunday. A cold front will cross the region Sunday night, bringing with it showers that should last into Monday and a more widespread chance for rain is showing up on the models for next Tuesday and Wednesday as a low pressure system enters the Southeast. Temps all the while will go from the low - mid 70's today to the upper 60's - low 70's Thursday, bottoming out to the mid 60's on Friday, followed by a gradual warmup to the mid - upper 70's by Sunday (afternoon highs for the valleys). The threat for frost above 4000' Thursday and Friday nights has lessened as wind speeds pick up across the region starting Thursday night.
We'll kick off the timeline on Thursday and we expect sunshine to start the day, with partly cloudy skies building later in the day as an upper level trough moves into the region. Temps will be held to the upper 60's across most of the region, but a few spots in Cherokee, Graham, and Macon counties will likely hit the low 70's. Isolated showers develop by the evening hours and peak around midnight, with a tenth of an inch likely for locations that do experience rainfall. Overnight lows will settle into the mid 30's - low 40's and we do not expect any snow to fall, with only a small chance for frost above 5000'.
Friday will be noticeably cooler as wind speeds pick up to 10 - 20mph throughout the day, gusting to 25 - 35mph at times (depending upon elevation). Sunshine will help offset some of the chill brought on by the wind, but temps will only warm to the mid 50's - upper 60's depending upon elevation. Overnight lows dip into the mid 30's - low 40's once again, this time under clear skies and the only thing keeping frost at bay will be westerly winds holding steady around 10 - 15mph throughout the night. If winds die off sooner than expected, then frost is a possibility for those who live above 4000'.
Saturday and Sunday look much like last weekend; sunny and a bit dry (airmass) on Saturday, with increasing clouds and moisture returning on Sunday. Temps hit the low 70's on Saturday across the lower elevations and it will be a perfect day to catch some long range views as dewpoints remain slightly lower than normal, but pack the jacket as temps only reach the upper 40's - low 50's above 5500'. Overnight lows bottom out to the low - upper 40's as clouds build after midnight, setting up Sunday with partly cloudy skies to start the day. High pressure to our east will spin moisture back into the region, helping clouds thicken as the day moves along, but a southerly flow will also bring temps into the mid - upper 70's across the lower elevations. Isolated showers are likely to break out by the evening hours, expanding to all of SW NC by sunrise on Monday; overnight lows in the upper 40's - mid 50's.
Confidence drops a bit as we talk about early next week, so we will broad stroke the forecast with rain chances on Monday (scattered coverage), ramping up to a widespread event Tuesday into Wednesday. Details are still fuzzy but another 1 - 2" event is likely for the region, with temps a touch cooler than Sunday to persistent rainfall.
Our next discussion will come out late Friday morning. ENJOY!