This Afternoon: The clouds and spotty light rain didn't develop as advertised today, thus temperatures have warmed up more than expected. It will be a very mild late afternoon.
Tonight: Spotty light rain will become more likely as temperatures fall into the 50s.
Friday - Cooler + Spotty Rain: An easterly wind, cloud-cover and pockets of drizzle or light rain will cause Friday to be quite a bit cooler outside. Still, highs in the 53°-58° range won't be too hard to bare. Western North Carolina temperatures will also remain in the 50s.
Weekend Warmth: Aside from a few showers being possible, this weekend will be very mild for this time of year as a ridge of high pressure dominates our weather pattern for the short-term. Highs will go past 60° and even into the low 70s for Upstate/NE Georgia towns with Western NC highs reaching the 60s. Our sky will have more clouds than sun.
Flip to Colder Next Week: It's been tough to bite on any signs of a cold-snap coming into our forecast. Yet, there are not more signs arguing for much cooler air pouring into the southeast by the 17th, 18th and 19th of January. A ridge of high pressure will take shape out on the west coast allowing for a sizeable dip in the jet stream and true arctic air spreading into the country.
In fact, this arctic air mass is some of the coldest air we have seen in a long time. The images posted on the right-hand side of the page show the core of the -36C degree air coming into the northeast at 5,000ft which is something rarely seen on a North American map.
Our Impacts: Surface temperatures are shown on the second map. According to that map (at Noon - middle of the day) temperatures will be hovering in the 40s for highs on the 17th for the Upstate/NE Georgia. If that's correct, lows will get in the 30s and some 20s with a tough wind out of the north. In situations of dense, arctic air, forecast models have a tough time identifying the density of the cold. Models keep trending colder and colder (and earlier at the onset) for late next week. So, we'll have to watch the periphery of this air mass (where we are) as some arctic air will inevitably sprawl out and press farther south due to the weight and density of the air mass.
It's not all that rare to see very warm air precede a much colder pattern like this. I keep saying and will continue to say that this winter's wet conditions and this turn toward cold is very different than the dry periods with very slim cold of last winter.
At this point, there's no way of knowing what sort of winter weather may be in our future as a result of what looks like a MUCH colder pattern (at times) in late January.