Wind Lessening: The cold, northwest breeze will continue this evening, but most of the high winds will die down tonight. Stout winds will hang tough in Western NC through Saturday morning as a High Wind Warning remains in effect.
Saturday: Improving conditions are on the way for the weekend and it all start tomorrow afternoon. After starting in the 20s, highs will reach the low-middle 50s in Upstate/NE Georgia towns with middle-upper 40s in Western NC. Still cool, but the sun will make it feel warmer than it really is.
Sunday: I'm expecting more clouds than sun with some increase in cloudiness by late in the day. Temperatures will be warmer than Saturday and should be comfortable during the afternoon. Middle-upper 50s will be common in the Upstate with upper 40s and low 50s in Western NC.
It's safe to say your travel plans won't be impacted this weekend.
Christmas Eve - Monday: Things change quickly by Monday. Spotty rain will develop and come down around here. This will be in response to a weak system moving our way ahead of the next system mid-week. Temperatures will hold in the upper 40s and low 50s area-wide.
Christmas Day and the 26th & Travel Plans: A stronger system will be poised to impact the southeast by Christmas Day and the Wednesday (26th). After developing in Texas on Monday with a decent amount of cold air in front of it paving a somewhat suppressed storm track, the center of the system at the surface will likely move through Mississippi, Alabama and then progress northeast along the spine of the Appalachian Mountains.
Where we're located in comparison to where the center of the system (surface low) is at that point will ultimately determine what sort of precipitation-type will fall. Our area is normally located on the eastern, warm side and that will be the most likely scenario on Tuesday and Wednesday. Unfortunately, this isn't good news at all if you were hoping for a "white Christmas." Believe me, if I could change things, we would have Christmas 2010 (snow) all over again.
While this storm system spreads snow over portions of Tennessee and Kentucky, our forecast looks like a chilly rain for most towns, partly due to a wedge of cold air in place as a northeast breeze funnels that chilly air down the eastern side of the Apps. Importantly, this cold air damming/wedge doesn't look quite strong enough to produce a setup for freezing rain within our NC viewing area. However, there is the possibility of a transition from rain to wet snow in Western NC as the system passes by to the east and the dynamic, colder side moves over Western NC. It's definitely not out of the question that this system could track over GSP/Greenville which would put portions of Western NC in focus for a longer period of snow nor is it out of the question for a stronger cold air damming event which could produce some ice in NC.
Importantly, if you have travel plans next Wednesday, you will want to prepare for wet roads.
I uploaded several forecast model charts that outline where this storm system is projected to be by Wednesday.
Also, if this morning's 12z European (the 3rd map) is anywhere close to accurate, the Upstate and Northeast GA will have to deal with storms and possibly severe weather due an intense 60-75knot low-level jet stream racing across Georgia and SC and also due to how much cold air is racing east behind this system's strong, cold front.
We'll keep updating you through the weekend and get a better handle on timing.