Tonight: Clouds will persist tonight as will the mild temperatures. Areas of fog will develop in some places as temperatures fall through the 60s into the 50s. Also, scattered light rain will be possible, especially in Western NC, even though there's a better chance that the rain will stay west of us.
Monday: Expect a cloudy sky and a good chance for rain, especially during the afternoon and evening. Temperatures will reach the 60s area-wide. While it's not raining, it will be a another very comfortable day!
Tuesday: The same system producing rain Monday will get a new injection of energy to fuel more rain as the system stalls out. Also, Tuesday will be noticeably cooler as a northeast wind pushes in while off/on rain comes down. Highs will only reach the 50s area-wide.
Close Call - Late Week: Weather forecasting in winter is always fluid. Minor changes in variables can make for major differences in the conditions we feel at the surface. Since only minor changes in one direction or the other can change the entire scenario, iIt will be important to pay close attention to Thursday of this week.
For the last four to five days, the incoming push of moderately cold air set to arrive Thursday of this week has been in focus. The focus has been more on the air mass and not any sort of southern stream system. The reason: due to the northern stream/northern jet previously projected to completely squash out or crush the system moving in our direction late Thursday.
Recent trends among many forecast models have shown this weak system holding together slightly longer rather than getting crushed quickly by the subsidence under the cold push of air from the north. This keeps precipitation generated a bit longer and more sustained than recent forecast models have shown. Also, the track of this upper-level system is a close call as it moves from Mississippi to central NC. Importantly, this isn't a situation where I'm watching a surface low tracking to our south. This is an upper-level driven system so the optimal track for frozen precipitation is directly over your head or just south of your location.
Let's talk temperatures. The bottom line is that the surface temperatures will be in the 40s. The only way snow sticks in that situation is if snow comes down consistently enough, which can happen and has happened many times in the past. As it stands now, projections have mid-level temperatures at around 1C to -1C, which isn't ideal for snow production at that level. My gut feeling is that there won't quite be enough low-level of mid-level cold air for snow (or at least anything more than flurries), but this is a close call.
If the system can trend a bit stronger, which is possible, we might work into a position where the cold-core within the upper-low manufactures some -2C to -3C temperatures at 5000ft which would bring a mixture of rain and snow into the equation.
This system doesn't have a very high ceiling in terms of how much it can do or how strong it can get. As it stands now, Thursday night's forecast is light rain with the possibility of snowflakes mixing in with no accumulation expected. If projections hold, it looks like snow accumulations will happen in Western NC, but it's tough to tell how much will come down.
I will have more on this tonight once the 0z GFS & European become available.