• Chief Meteorologist Chris

Potential For A High Impact Winter Storm Next Weekend

Good Sunday Morning. This is an update for a high impact winter storm next weekend. A weather briefing for the remainder of the forecast period will be posted by Sinead shortly.

We continue to watch what could be a high impact winter storm next weekend across Western NC. This is a race between cold air and moisture. It is becoming evident that the cold air is likely going to win out. The northern jet stream will dig a cold front out and push it East on Friday. At the same time a piece of energy in the southern jet stream will move onshore between Thursday and Friday. That energy will transition and spawn a new low Friday Evening into Saturday near Houston.


The cold front will cross the area Friday Night into Saturday Morning. High pressure will build in behind and to the North of that cold front. Cold air should spill over the mountains Saturday Morning, down into the foothills. Moisture will surge Northeast out ahead of the developing low pressure Saturday or Sunday. There are some timing issues to work out yet because the Euro is quicker in moving in the moisture during the morning hours on Saturday. The GFS and others are slower to onset with moisture moving in on Sunday Morning. Plenty of time to fine tune that aspect.

As moisture spreads in it will overrun the cold and dryer surface air. This will quickly establish a substantial cold air damming event east of the mountains. Moisture will fall into the dry cold air and evaporate, cooling the surface layer back down to below freezing. This could start as a period of sleet or freezing rain at onset, and then could transition to all snow. Portions of the foothills down to the south could hang onto freezing rain for a longer duration than those to the North.

There are a ton of issues that we have to work on to develop this forecast over the next 6-7 days. Timing, precipitation types, and precipitation amounts still depend largely on the track of the storm and amount of cold air that will be available. There is a growing concern in the forecast community that this has the potential to be a very high impact winter storm across, at least, portions of the foothills of Western NC.

High Impact Weather Briefings begin tonight (Sunday Night) for the forecast area. Residents across the mountains and foothills of Western NC are encouraged to monitor this forecast and its progression over the next few days. Now is the time to plan how your family could prepare for a winter storm should it occur. Plans should be made ahead of the forecast and your family should be ready to prepare for power outages and travel issues should the forecast evolve to that extent.

Chris White

Chief Meteorologist Foothills Weather Network


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