Windy Friday; Saturday Snow?!?
Good afternoon folks! We delayed the post a few hours as a slight twist in the short term forecast popped up this morning among the models, now showing a possible late day snow event on Saturday. This is not set in stone and because this twist is so new to the timeline, we will post a new discussion Friday and Saturday mornings to ensure we are breaking down the latest updates. For now we will include this possibility in our discussion but we highly recommend checking back in tomorrow and Saturday mornings to make sure this event is still a possibility.
The rest of the day today will remain cloudy, damp, but slightly warmer as temps climb to the upper 40's across the lower elevations. Precip will begin to develop this evening and fall as a wet snow above 3500 - 4000' for most of SW NC and light accumulations on elevated surfaces will be possible by sunrise. The valleys will eventually see rain kick over to snow by sunrise as temps drop to the low 30's below 3000', but not in time as moisture begins to wane just after sunrise, with no accumulations expected for the valleys. Rainfall totals have been adjusted down for the area, with a half inch for most of the region and 0.75 -1" on the higher end across the Snowbird, Cheoah, and Unicoi Mountains.
Friday will gradually feature sunny skies as moisture pulls out of the region with the exiting front, followed by colder air that will keep temps to the low - mid 30's above 4000', warming to the low - mid 40's across the valley floor. Factor in NW winds around 10 - 30mph depending upon elevation and it will be a windy, chilly day across the landscape. Strong winds continue through the overnight hours and temps will dip into the upper teens - mid 20's depending upon elevation, all under mostly clear skies.
And now for the tricky part of the forecast. We do not know how much moisture will return to the region as the day progresses on Saturday but several models are showing an increase to the point where precip develops during the late afternoon hours. Even though we start the day sunny and temps warm to the mid 30's - mid 40's, clouds will eventually fill in before sunset and may do so sooner, possibly capping temps earlier than expected. This setup would be an overrunning event and much like last Saturday afternoon, we could see a round of wet, gently falling snow in a stratiform fashion across the region. I am not sold on this just yet but the latest model runs certainly have piqued my interest and this bears watching over the next 36 hours. For now, plan around the chance for accumulating snow Saturday afternoon and check back in each morning to see what may have changed.
Looking past Saturday, the end of the weekend should be a sunny one and the previously mentioned cold snap is not looking so good, with no real intrusion of colder air on the models Sunday into the middle of next week. The arctic airmass stops across the Ohio Valley, never making it to our region and with this latest change we are now going with sunshine on Sunday and temps warming to the upper 30's - upper 40's. Temps climb low 40's - mid 50's Monday and a light precip event swings through Monday night, likely as rain for most of the region with some ridgeline snowfall. Temps in the mid - upper 50's will occur Tuesday and Wednesday under more sunshine after the disturbance clears the area early Tuesday morning.
We'll stop here and circle back Friday morning and again Saturday morning as we keep a close eye on the possible snow event Saturday afternoon.