A cold weekend ahead, plus we are watching a system for early next week that COULD be a winter weather producer for our entire area. It's not terribly impressive at this point, but we'll talk about it...
First off, the cold air still looks poised to hit our area for Saturday and Sunday. Tomorrow we'll have breezy winds as the cold front approaches, clouds will build and a few showers will be possible. Temps on Friday should stay at about normal levels for this time of year, with low to mid 50s in the Upstate and upper 40s for the mountains.
Snow will develop as the northwest wind takes over in the mountains. 2-4 inches will be likely near TN, while we'll have spotty accumulations elsewhere. Winds will be whipping at 15-25 mph overnight, and stay high through Saturday. In the Upstate we'll stay generally clear, with a few flurries possible in the northern Upstate but it doesn't look likely at this point. Snow will last through the day in the mountains, then wind down through the evening. Saturday night will be frigid in the mid to upper teens in the mountains and low 20s for the Upstate. Sunday things calm down a bit, but temps will be much colder than normal. Highs will only reach the mid 40s in the Upstate and mid 30s in the mountains under mostly sunny skies.
Monday should be quiet and temps will rebound a bit from the weekend. Then our next storm comes in for Tuesday. As this point we are looking at a fast moving shortwave disturbance that will be weakening as it moves into our area. The GFS model is still pumping out a good bit of moisture with it though, which Andy mentioned that could be due to some available gulf moisture that hasn't been tapped my many systems lately. Regardless, we are looking at moisture moving in during Tuesday morning while temperatures are cold. We could be looking at a significant snow in the mountains, and possibly some sleet/snow and even freezing rain mix for the Upstate. It all depends on the arrival time of the moisture, amount of dry air in place, surface temperature, etc. It's very tricky, but I'd say we stand a good chance at some BRIEF wintry weather in the Upstate with this storm during Tuesday morning. Snow in the mountains could become heavy for several hours before the system pulls out.
As with any threat of winter weather, I went to Mr. Andy Wood for consultation on this. He isn't jumping on the bandwagon yet, which I think is the smart way to approach this. It's looking borderline for the Upstate at this point, and the system just doesn't have much going on dynamically. But, we both acknowledge that the temps and moisture are lining up to bring a mixed bag of precipitation to the Upstate if the dry air doesn't mess with things. We noticed that dew points will still be pretty low as the system moves in, so there will be a lot of evaporation going on as precip begins to fall. This could limit amounts, BUT will cool the air column and set us up for some winter weather if there's enough moisture. Andy also made the point that the ground temp will be cooled down from our weekend cold snap, so ground temps shouldn't be a huge factor in this forecast. It looks kind of "sleety" to us, but I think a little of everything will be possible. I'm going to get a look at some forecast soundings tonight and tomorrow, which should help us get a better handle on potential precip. type.
So, to wrap up... Cold weekend with mountains snow, especially near the TN border. Then Tuesday a quick moving system could put down some sleet/snow/frz. rain in the Upstate during Tuesday morning before precip turns to rain most likely during the afternoon. The mountains could see a decent show on Tuesday if the moisture amounts on GFS hold up!. We'll be watching and Andy will post on Friday regarding the evolution of the forecast. But for now, GFS, Euro and Canadian all have this system putting down a wintry mix in the Upstate, but moisture amounts vary. Could be VERY little, maybe just freezing drizzle, while it could very well end up being a big story.
Finally, something to watch!!!