Lead Forecaster Daniel Crawley
Good Saturday morning to all of our followers, we have been covering this potential winter storm extensively over the past few days. Last weekend computer model guidance started sniffing out the potential of a winter weather event and now we are on the doorstep of it.
Preparation needs to be completed by this afternoon. The storm has the potential of being one of the more impactful storms for our entire coverage area in several years. It appears that we will be dealing with multiple Winter precipitation types and that will likely impact normal functions such a travel and possible significant impact to utilities.
Without further ado this is our final call map for snow and ice accumulations starting late tonight and lasting through Sunday Night.
We still expect the greatest threat along the US 74 Corridor and across most of Lincoln and Catawba Counties to be sleet and freezing rain. Those locations will begin as snow but we expect a fairly quick change over therefor we have increased the freezing rain potential compared to our first call that came out Thursday evening. Some locations could approach a 1/2 inch ice accretion.
Prepare for loss of electricity with this much ice accretion!
Once you get along and north of interstate 40 the primary precipitation type should be snow with sleet mixing in. The gradient of snowfall will be pretty tight from Southeast to Northwest there along interstate 40. So we have not made any significant changes to the snowfall forecast as we feel the 3 inch mark around Hickory is achievable and the 6 inch amount is attainable for places like Marion, Morganton and Lenoir.
Remember, our forecast is generated around the idea of verifying the base number in our range, not the maximum.
We have added the 8 to 14 inch range to the Blue Ridge escarpment in Northwest McDowell County, Northwest Burke and Caldwell County, especially once you get above 3500 ft. The storm system and the dynamics will create an upslope component similar to what we see a lot of times during weather events during the warm season. This will help enhance precipitation amounts in our upslope regions. We do think some sleet will mix in as well. One extra component for these areas will be northwest flow as storm exits, this could help provide additional duration of snowfall though Sunday night.
That is our final forecast for this upcoming winter weather event. We are now officially in nowcasting mode as we will watch the radar starting tonight and going into Sunday.
We have also updated the winter storm index this morning to Level 4 of 5…
Finally here’s a timeline of impacts for our coverage area as a whole during this event. Again. A reminder that the mixed precipitation will gradually move north through the event therefore ice is a bigger threat south and east and more snow as you move north. With the cold temperatures overall it won’t take long for travel issues to develop overnight Saturday night.