Good Saturday evening to everyone, we continue to monitor a storm system that could bring a taste of winter weather to the Western Carolinas for your Sunday morning. The one good thing as a forecaster is that we seem to be holding a steady course in how this will all evolve. In other words there have been no big changes seen in today’s model guidance…so with that said lets set the pieces together on the table. Winter Weather Advisories have been issued for all counties from 1 am until 10 am Sunday.
Cold high pressure has started to move east of the region but it has left behind a residual arctic airmass in its wake. The best indicator in that lies with the current dewpoints across the region, widespread single digit dewpoints are in place. That will provide the airmass sufficient enough to produce frozen or freezing precipitation by first thing Sunday morning.
The latest computer model guidance develops good jet energy over the southeast late tonight and it will transport moisture into the region just before daybreak. As you can see on the images below, precipitation will start to enter our western counties (McDowell, Rutherford) close to 5 am and could fall as a wintry mix of precip types with temperatures close to the 32 degree mark.
Then by 8 am widespread precipitation is expected with temperatures close to the 30 degree mark along I-40 and around freezing in our southern tier counties. Precip at this point will likely be in the form of freezing rain as the mid levels warm up.
Then by 10 am we continue to see slight warming both at the surface and aloft…most likely our southern tier will be just above the freezing mark by this time. Meanwhile along and north of I-40, temps right at freezing may be just stubborn enough to hold on to some freezing rain. Counties like McDowell, Burke and Caldwell might see those pockets of freezing air hold tight until around noon before turning to a cold rain for the afternoon hours.
Frozen precipitation amounts through noon Sunday continue to range from a couple hundredths in our southern counties to more than .10 in those favored locations in the Foothills.
This will have an impact on Sunday morning road conditions region-wide but improvement should be seen as you get to lunch time with the threat of icing over in the afternoon…
At this juncture we see no reason to make any changes to the Winter Storm Index, it will remain at Level 2…
Stay with the Foothills Weather Network for updates on this winter weather threat, Chief Meteorologist Christopher White will provide the next briefing in the morning…if you haven't done so already right now would be a great time to download The Foothills Weather Network App for your smart phone or tablet!