Less Question & More Answers: There are less questions than answers on the effects that Sandy will bring to inland areas on Monday and Tuesday, especially to those of us in Western NC and the Upstate. A landfall will likely come somewhere between northern New Jersey and the Delaware coastline on Monday night into Tuesday morning (high-probabilities of storm positions on image at right). At landfall, Sandy will be moving west and will move very slowly. The storm will be close enough for some effects here in the Carolinas. Importantly, the impacts we see and feel won't be brief.
Impacts for Us: Once Sandy loses tropical characteristics, this intense storm will be purely driven by a tremendous amount of upper-level winds and forcing from cold air pouring into the system from the west. This upper-level forcing will create a very powerful wind storm and will also allow for a very large area of precipitation on the western side of the storm's center.
First, the Upstate and NE Georgia will stay dry on Monday and Tuesday with gusty winds at times and temperatures staying in the 50s during the day and 30s at night. Western NC will be impacted even more directly with temperatures in the 30s and 40s with 20s/30s expected in the highest elevations. Not only that, but due to the circulation of the storm, high winds of 20-40mph are expected in Western NC! In the Upstate, expect gusty winds of 10-25mph.
The winds funneling into Western NC will hit the north-facing and northwestern-facing slopes in the Mountains and force moisture to rise producing snow. This snow will be prolonged in duration and fall consistently on Monday, Monday night and part of Tuesday in elevations above 3000ft for accumulations to occur and some places will pick up above 3-6" of snow. These high totals will fall mostly in Mitchell, Yancey, Madison and Haywood counties where this wind direction has known to produce high totals in the past. Be careful driving because high winds and snow are a dangerous combo.
Keep in mind that these winds will be at their height on Monday and Monday night. Once the storm weakens, winds will lessen.
Winter Storm Watch/Warning (Anticipated): I anticipate the NWS to issue this for towns or communities in Mitchell, Yancey, Madison and Haywood counties in NC within our viewing area. This will probably be issued at some point tonight or Sunday.
Freezing Temperatures Late Week: Once these winds die down, I expect a widespread freeze across the Upstate, NE Georgia and Western NC on early Thursday morning. If the winds die down enough on Wednesday morning there could also be freezing temperatures outside of the Mountains of NC.