Dry Air and Marginal Temps Limit Snowfall Accumulations In Foothills and Northwest Piedmont.

Thursday Night and Friday were forecast to bring anywhere from a trace of snow accumulation along the South Carolina State Boarder to as much as 8 inches across the eastern facing mountain slopes.

Final Storm Total Snow Forecast Sponsored by Four Seasons Property Maintenance. 829-448-0586

That forecast verified in some areas but in many other communities, the storm left behind nothing but wet roads and mud. Several factors went into the low end snow accumulations. The first of those issues was the dry air that wrapped into the upper low. As the upper low moved through the southeast it pulled dry air around and into its core. That limited moisture transport into the area and in turn precipitation rates remained too low to bring down that colder air from aloft to the surface in some of the forecast area.

In Alexander County rain mixed with snow and sleet as the onset began after midnight. The precipitation was light but did turn over to a period of moderate snow with big flakes at 1:02am in Taylorsville according to storm tracker Chris Brown. It wouldn’t last though as dry air came in and cut precipitation off to drizzle. By 7am the county only measured .23 of an inch. Unofficially only a trace of snow was recorded. Moore Mountain ridge top did record 3 to 4 inches of snow though because they remained below freezing though the day.

In Burke County it depended on where you were. Western and Northwestern Burke received more snow than areas east of Valdese. Rain and sleet started just after 11:30pm Thursday Night and quickly became heavy snow with some huge snowflakes. The atmosphere quickly cooled from the top down in much of the county. In the south mountains, along the ridge tops, it was snow throughout the event. South Mountain tops unofficially measured 4-5 inches. It snowed on and off all day throughout the county but temperatures didn’t support accumulation. The high temperature of 34° to 36° county wide (outside Jonas Ridge of course) allowed what fell overnight to melt off during the morning and what was falling wouldn’t stick either. Near the Lake James Powerhouse where nearly a half inch of snow was on the ground in the first hour, snow total accumulation was 3.6 inches but that was determined only by taking hourly weather observations. The most on the ground at any one time was 2.7 inches. In Icard though snow melted off this morning and only a dusting remained by sunset leaving lots of folks disappointed. In Morganton though kids took to the hills at NCSD after finishing their assignments from their remote learning day. The News Herald has some great stories of families enjoying the snow together on their website http://www.morganton.com.

Here are some of the official totals from
BURKE COUNTY...
JONAS RIDGE 1.4 S 6.5 IN 0700 AM 01/08 COCORAHS
4 E TABLE ROCK 4.5 IN 0400 PM 01/08 BROADCAST MEDIA
GLEN ALPINE 4.0 IN 0400 PM 01/08 BROADCAST MEDIA
4 NNE GLEN ALPINE 4.0 IN 0400 PM 01/08 PUBLIC
2 NE VALDESE 2.5 IN 0400 PM 01/08 BROADCAST MEDIA
VALDESE 2.0 IN 0400 PM 01/08 BROADCAST MEDIA
GLEN ALPINE 0.7 WSW 2.0 IN 0830 AM 01/08 COCORAHS
MORGANTON 1.5 IN 0905 AM 01/08 PUBLIC

In Caldwell County we started receiving reports of rain and sleet after midnight. Snow was visible on the Blowing Rock Camera by Resort Cams at 11:00pm. After 12:00am reports of sleet, rain, and snow started coming in. Our storm tracker John Brookshire reported all sleet at 12:30am at his home in Sawmills. It would turn to snow as a heavy burst of precipitation moved in around 1:00am. That wouldn’t last as the dry air moved in and left behind drizzle with 1/2 inch of snow reported in Sawmills.

Here are the two official reports from 
CALDWELL COUNTY...

LENOIR 3.0 IN 0420 PM 01/08 PUBLIC
HUDSON 2.0 IN 0400 PM 01/08 BROADCAST MEDIA

In Catawba County a lot of folks were disappointed when they woke up this morning to a dusting to 1/2 inch of snow. A few localized reports of 1 inch were common near Bakers Mountain and Mountain View. Precipitation started as a sleet, snow, rain mix for many in Catawba County around midnight. A change over to all snow occurred between 12:30am and 1:30am before the dry slot moved in robbing any chance for the snow to continue to accumulate. As it tapered off the snow changed back to light drizzle with a few sleet pellets. The snow picked up again off and on through the day but not enough to accumulate. Finally as the low started to move away a burst of snow developed on the back end. Starting around 2:00pm flakes started flying in Catfish and areas along Lake Hickory. It wasn’t sticking because the air temperatures were too warm but it did fall. As the sun started setting enough cold air wrapped in to change the last bit of heavy precipitation over to snow. This gave Conover, Claremont, and Catawba a light dusting before it moved away. Folks took to social media blasting forecasters for messing up their hopes for snow. Unfortunately the dry air won this battle and the 10% chance of less than one inch of snow is what verified.

Here are the two official reports for 
CATAWBA COUNTY...

HICKORY 5.3 NE 0.5 IN 0900 AM 01/08 COCORAHS
6 ENE MAIDEN 0.1 IN 0700 AM 01/08 COCORAHS

In Cleveland County sleet and rain started making their debut at the surface along the NC/SC line around 9:00pm. Grover was the first MPING report that we saw in our coverage area. The rain and sleet made a brief transition to snow as a heavy band rapidly lifted North. Shelby to Belwood reported a heavy burst of snow between 10:45pm and 11:45pm. It wouldn’t last though and quickly went back to drizzle with a few sleet pellets. This morning most folks outside of the northern tip of the county woke up to wet roads and bare ground. Social media was a frenzy of frazzled followers wanting to know why meteorologists need degrees to be wrong all the time. There are no official sleet or snow reports from this event in Cleveland County as of press time 12:30am.

In Lincoln County many kids went to bed anxiously awaiting to wake up and build snowmen. Here too though the weatherman broke their hearts as they awoke to mud pits and wet roads. It wasn’t until late Friday Evening just before sunset that Lincoln County would get to see the white flakes fly. As the deformation band of snow wrapped around the back side of the departing low it allowed for some incredible snowfall rates in Denver and along Highway 16. Before it moved away it left some folks along the northern end of Lake Norman with a half and inch of snow unofficially.

Here are the official snow reports for LINCOLN COUNTY...

3 NNW CROUSE 0.4 IN 0620 AM 01/08 COCORAHS
4 S COOKSVILLE 0.3 IN 0600 AM 01/08 COCORAHS

In McDowell County the first snowflakes started falling in Crooked Creek just after the 10:00pm hour Thursday Night. Forecasters worked at their desk in their weather studio updating their constituents of the impending weather (or the lack thereof) as the first flakes fell in Marion around 10:30pm. It wasn’t long before large snowflakes were flying and coming down heavy. In a Facebook Live feed from Chief Meteorologist Chris White you could see just how heavy the snow was falling at 11:02pm. As he filmed his trek east into Western Burke County I-40 was starting to see the first very minor accumulation of snow in areas that are shaded from the sun this time of year. Snow continued in McDowell off and on for about two hours before the dry slot worked in and cut precipitation back to drizzle. By this morning Forecaster Daniel Crawley had long received .50 inch at his home in Pleasant Gardens. Officially the Downtown COOP Site revived 1.5 inches. Snow fell on and off throughout the day but surface temperatures between 34° and 35° didn’t allow any additional accumulations outside of Little Switzerland. By midday roads were just covered in salt and water as DOT worked to mix up seltzer’s for all of those angry snow lovers. The seltzer’s worked better on the roads than they did on the heartburn. By midday the followers took to social media announcing their heartburn with the college education system for letting clowns practice weather on a public forum. It is unclear if any social media users were affected by various policies against cyber bullying.

Here are the official snow/sleet reports for MCDOWELL COUNTY...

LITTLE SWITZERLAND 6.0 IN 1145 AM 01/08 PUBLIC
NEBO 4.0 IN 0400 PM 01/08 PUBLIC
5 SW OLD FORT 2.0 IN 0620 AM 01/08 PUBLIC
4 NE OLD FORT 0.5 IN 0650 AM 01/08 CO-OP OBSERVER

Last but not least in Rutherford County the snow started flying just prior to the 10:00pm hour Thursday Night in Lake Lure. Rain and sleet though debuted in Rutherford County on 221 just north of Chesnee SC at 8:30pm. Sleet, rain, and snow changed to all snow though in the 10:30pm hour in many communities. It started sticking to backroads and side roads a little bit but the duration wasn’t long enough. Dry air wrapped into the system cutting off the precipitation quickly leading to drizzle. Though snow and rain would no. Through the day Friday no additional accumulations were reported. The natives were restless too as they spoke out in protest against lame forecasting. These folks are demanding forecasters do better next event.

Here are the official snow/sleet reports for RUTHERFORD COUNTY...

4 SSW RUTHERFORDTON 0.3 IN 0700 AM 01/08 CO-OP OBSERVER
3 NNE SHINGLE HOLLOW 0.2 IN 0640 AM 01/08 COCORAHS
4 NW ELLENBORO 0.1 IN 0828 AM 01/08 PUBLIC

In summary it is very difficult to forecast a upper level low. The systems tend to create lots of gray hair for forecasters and followers alike. We get it, we love snow too. Sometimes the dynamics don’t work out just the way models predict them too. This was the case last night. No one saw the dry air wrapping in until it was too late and the forecasts were posted by that time. The deformation band of snow didn’t really get its act together either. Temperatures stayed within a degree or two of the forecast highs and lows. The thermodynamics just didn’t work out this time around. On to the next storm though and Daniel will have more on it and the upcoming possible cold spell that could arrive late January. We hope you have a safe and happy weekend!

Dry air wraps into Friday’s upper low pressure and in turn cut snow totals way down.
Official snow totals from across the region.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: