This Evening/Tonight: Temperatures will slowly relax back into the low 40s by later afternoon and 30s by evening. We'll stay under a mostly clear sky tonight as lows reach the low 30s in Upstate towns with 20s in Western NC.
Thursday: Expect slightly warmer conditions compared to Wednesday, but temperatures will still be chilly. At lunch, we'll enjoy sunshine and a range of middle 40s in Upstate towns with close to 40° in Western NC at lunch. Then, aided by the sunshine, temperatures will reach close to 50° in the Upstate/ NE Georgia with middle 40s in Western NC.
Friday: We're still following what looks like a light freezing rain to rain transition for Friday. The cold air will be in place Friday. In fact, our highs for the day may not get above a range from 32°-34°. But, where there's cold, there is also DRY air. It's worth mentioning the absence of any sort of low pressure system to our south or southwest on Friday. So, with that dry air in place, moisture accompanying a weak disturbance is going to have a real tough time even coming down at first (could be 2-3 hours of virga - precip which dries as it falls). However, the dewpoint depressions should eventually be overcome as some rain falls into that dry air saturating from the top... down to the ground.
For Upstate towns, light freezing rain will be a probable scenario on Friday sometime between mid-morning and 3pm so bridge icing could be a problem, there won't be much of and icy glaze though. Also, a few snowflakes or period of sleet aren't out of the question at the start. In NE Georgia, There may be a bit more freezing rain. Bridge icing will be the main concerns there too. With minimal moisture, there will be NO ICE STORM or power outage problems. If there were an actual low pressure system and LOTS of moisture, the potential for an ice storm would be something to focus on.
Speaking of Friday: upper 20s to around 30° during the morning will be something to keep a close eye on. If that happens with rain coming down, bridge icing will be an issue, for some time at least. I anticipate a Winter Weather Advisory to be issued. Once temperatures rise by afternoon (32°-35°), a changeover to all rain for the Upstate/NE Georgia will occur. Dangerous ice issues only occur with prolonged rain at 31° or below.
For Western NC, more freezing rain and sleet is a concern, especially with some of the newer data supporting colder temperatures at differing levels and higher moisture content. Also, snow looks like a possibility too and 1-2" may be possible in the higher elevations. In Western NC, due to colder temperatures, it will take less time for the dry air to be saturated as the precipitation falls. Still, a light glaze of ice is more likely with possible bridge icing issues and very little power outage concerns.
This system will not be a snow setup as warmer air overruns a shallow layer of cold air near the surface. In fact, 5000ft (and above) temperatures will be above 32F (see maps to the right) and that won't support anything other than freezing rain or spotty sleet.
Risky Proposition: It's always helpful to look at forecast models. But, it is a risky game to project moisture content, especially when there isn't even a system to our southwest. This means it's RISKY for us to trust how much moisture a certain forecast model is showing. For example, today's 12z GFS forecast model projected more precipitation with this system in comparison with recent projections. It's tough to buy into that at this time given the amount of dry air and absence of a storm system to our southwest.
If forecast models to happen to trend wetter and wetter in precipitation, then a loud statement can be made for more warmth from the southwest overrunning and eventually winning the battle in pushing the cold surface temps sooner.