Good late Wednesday Night to everyone. As you know we are watching and monitoring a complex weather setup over the upcoming weekend. There remains a ton of detail to work out but here is what we know.
An upper level low pressure center will dive south into a trough that will be left behind along the East Coast after a cold front moves through Thursday Night. Energy will transfer to the coast as a secondary surface low pressure develops somewhere between GA, SC, and NC coastal areas. As this low strengthens, it will move northeast up the coastline.
Locally a dynamic situation will unfold starting Saturday Evening. Low levels to the surface will be too mild for winter precipitation but aloft, temperatures will fall quickly. The upper low will bring with it a lot of subfreezing air aloft. So as precipitation moves into the area Saturday Afternoon or evening, it will overrun a relatively warm surface airmass. As precipitation becomes heavier Saturday Night, that heavier precipitation will pull that cold air aloft to the surface. In response, surface temperatures will crash Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, dropping back into the low to mid 30’s.
There are going to be some people happy and some unhappy because it looks like there could be a sharp gradient between who receives accumulating snow and who continues to see green grass. It is still a tough call on where this rain snow line will set up. Right now it looks like areas along and North of I-40 would see a rain to snow, and mostly snow in the height of the storm. Along Highway 74 north to I-40, rain to start with rain changing to snow Sunday before ending. South of Highway 74, chances of accumulating snow are much lower. The eastern facing slopes and adjacent foothills stand out to me right now, as to the area with the best chances of seeing accumulating snow. Below are the chances as of midnight Thursday Morning as to who has the best chance of seeing more than 1 inch of snow. This will likely change some over the next 24 hours.
Below are the main players. The first is the upper level low that is diving south into the middle of the country by Friday Night. That upper low will phase with a southern stream piece of energy, creating a stronger system that will go up the coast. High pressure over the Great Lakes will aid to funnel some cold air south, east of the mountains.
Here are the latest headlines with a medium confidence level for the forecast. We have a lot to work on yet so stay tuned.
And last but not least, Here is our Winter Storm Index sponsored by Mi Paloma Mexican Restaurant on Independence Blvd in Morganton. The index is at it’s highest level now of the Winter Season. Prep the roadways!
Stay tuned for further updates and information through the day Thursday.