Significant Southeast Winter Storm Expected Sunday, Details to be Ironed Out

Lead Forecaster Daniel Crawley

Good Wednesday afternoon to everyone, we continue to watch the latest computer model guidance to indicate that a significant winter weather event will impact the Western Carolinas on Sunday.

Just to rehash the Synoptics, we have ridging located along the west coast of North America. A piece of energy dives south east due to that ridge and will develop a storm system along the Lower Mississippi River on Saturday and moving east north east toward the Carolinas by Sunday. With cold air in place we expect wintery precipitation to break out by Sunday morning.

As you can see on the moisture loop, the upper level feature associated with the storm will move directly over the western Carolinas on Sunday. That will provide opportunity for multiple precipitation types to fall across the region.

While the precipitation tops remain a huge question in regards to this event, the one area we are more confident is that we will have a strong feed of low level cold air in place.

Saturday morning we will already have a damning configuration as strong high-pressure to the north feeds in arctic air to the Carolinas.

Surface pressure map (Saturday 7 am)

As you can see on the dewpoint map below there will be dewpoint temperatures well below zero across the Northeast US and up into Canada. The high pressure will allow a chunk of that cold air to drain down the east side of the Appalachians…

Dew point Temps (Sat 7 am)

On Sunday low pressure will begin to transfer toward the Carolina coast line. Meanwhile high-pressure to the north will slowly begin to retreat.

Surface pressure map (Sun 7 am)

Our biggest concern at this stage of the game is the acknowledgment that we will be dealing with an airmass that’s generally colder than what we usually see during winter weather events. The past couple years we have generally dealt with marginal temperatures during our winter weather episodes. That will not be the case this time around, as we get into the height of the event we could be dealing with temps in the low to mid 20’s. That in itself will create a potential high impact event across the region, especially if we start dealing with sleet or freezing rain as precipitation types.

Stay with us as we go through the next couple days and we learn more about white to expect across the region. Check in frequently at our website and on our social media pages.

We will update the Winter Storm Index this evening…

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