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High Elevation Snow Sunday Night; Much Colder Next Week

Published: 3.11.18 1:56pm

Good Afternoon Folks! We’ll keep this update short and sweet as things have not changed much from yesterday’s thinking, in that a high elevation snow event will move through the region tonight into tomorrow, with the bulk of the population experiencing a cold rain with back end snow showers. Temps will dip into the low – upper 30’s tonight, allowing our highest peaks above 5500’ to kick over to snow shortly after midnight. The snow/rain line will gradually lower throughout the morning hours on Monday and with the system cutting the NW corner of our state as it heads NE, places south and west of Soco and Balsam Gap will see less snow, while places like Waynesville and Black Mountain pick up more; a dusting to an inch or two in comparison. The real winners for our region will be the Smokies above 5000’, the Great Balsam ridgelines and Cataloochee Divide, while the highest amounts are likely to be in Avery and Watauga counties.  

Temps will only make it to the mid 30’s – low 40’s depending upon elevation and dip into the upper teens – upper 20’s Monday night, as the system’s moisture begins to pull away from the region. The bulk of the precip will off to our north and east by the mid afternoon hours, however NW flow on the backend of the storm will keep light – moderate snow showers going for the TN line; expect NW winds around 10 – 30mph. This includes Cataloochee Ski Area, which could end up with 3 – 5” by midday Tuesday and temps remain cold enough for snowmaking all the way into Thursday! 

Colder weather lingers into Wednesday, warming up slightly on Thursday and by the time next weekend rolls around, we’ll be enjoying spring like temperatures once again. 

Scroll to the end of the discussion to view the SNOWCAST MAP

3.10.18 2:51pm

Good Afternoon Folks! As I’m sure many are already aware, a winter storm is coming our way but as of this afternoon the models show a small event for the majority of our region, with the bulk of the action occurring across the NW NC mountains (Mitchell, Avery, Watauga, Ashe counties). Our portion of the state will cash in but mainly along the ridgelines above 5000’, with places like the Smokies picking up anywhere from 6 – 10”. We’ll dive into more detail below but first let’s discuss the remainder of today and the setup leading into the event tomorrow night. 

Don’t forget to set your clocks ahead one hour before going to bed as Daylight Saving Time occurs tonight! 

Showers will begin to line up along the escarpment late this afternoon and continue throughout the night, with coverage expanding through the morning hours Sunday as moisture opens up from the Gulf of Mexico (a half inch up to an inch of rain is likely). This moisture fetch will arrive before the cold air mass, which is coming from the NW and although the higher elevation ridgelines will pick up decent snow amounts, the track of the two low pressures (both aloft and at the surface) keeps the bulk of the action confined to the NW portion of the state. This translate into temps this afternoon peaking to the mid 40’s – low 50’s and cooling off to the upper 30’s – low 40’s. Showers may mix in with snow tonight above 6000’, but for the most part a cold rain will play out into the morning hours Sunday. 

It won’t take long for the cold air aloft to reach the mountains and transition rain over to snow above 5000’, doing so sometime before midday/early afternoon Sunday. It will take most of the day and part of the evening for snow levels to drop to the valley and this be after a good bit of rain falls across the region (another half inch up to an inch), limiting accumulations across the lower elevations. Places like Franklin, Sylva and Cullowhee will experience mixing issues, however folks in Waynesville should notice a clean transition from rain to snow, allowing an inch to collect before the moisture moves out. Temps Sunday rise to the low 40’s – low 50’s before falling to the upper 20’s – mid 30’s overnight into Monday. Cataloochee and the area ridgelines close to the Smokies will pick up the bulk of their snow during this timeframe, setting up the Monday morning first chair to be almost perfect for mid March! 

Moisture moves out Monday, with NW flow snow lingering through the evening hours and drying out by sunrise on Tuesday. Temps Monday and Tuesday will be cold, but also at times miserable as NW flow winds setup shop and remain steady around 15 – 25mph through Tuesday evening. Afternoon highs Monday reach the mid 30’s – upper 40’s and fall to the low 30’s – mid 40’s Tuesday, with overnight lows dipping into the mid teens – mid 20’s. 

We’ll provide another update tomorrow in case the models shift the track of the incoming storm, but for the most part it will be a somewhat gray end to the weekend, with snow overnight into Monday, clearing out to sunshine and colder temps Tuesday through Thursday. ENJOY! 

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