Good morning! Temperatures have stayed milder through the overnight hours, as winds have been picking up area-wide. Winds will be one of our "weather stories" for today - they'll stay breezy in the Upstate, turning northeasterly at 8-13 mph by the afternoon. In the Mountains, winds will be out of the north and northwest at 10-20 mph. A WIND ADVISORY is in effect for Mitchell and Yancey Counties and the McDowell Mountains through 1 PM - wind gusts of up to 40 mph will be possible there.
We'll stay dry today in the Upstate and through most of WNC under partly cloudy skies. Along the TN border, some freezing drizzle or a few flurries are possible this morning, but any precip will be very light and isolated over the next few hours. Highs will stay below-normal, rising into the upper 40s in the Upstate and the mid 30s in the Mountains.
As far as tomorrow's forecast is concerned, here are my latest thoughts this morning:
- The models show moisture advancing into the area during the morning. However, forecast dewpoints are in the single digits - so the air will be VERY dry. That means we'll probably see a period of time through the early/mid morning where precip is showing on the radar but not reaching the ground. I think the air column will be saturated enough to see precip reach the surface by late-morning/lunchtime for most of the area.
- The cold air will be locked in at the surface - but moisture remains the big question. The latest forecast models have been showing little in the way of QPF, which would indicate lower ice accumulations. But, keep in mind the fact that I think some of the initial precip will evaporate before reaching the ground... so we're talking about even less in the way of QPF.
- I think the most sleet/freezing rain will fall in SW NC - parts of Macon, Southern Jackson and Transylvania County could see 0.1-0.2 inches of ice accumulation. This stays below the critical level of .25 inches, where major problems begin to occur - but slick roads and isolated power outages will be a concern. In the northern parts of Greenville, Pickens and Oconee Counties - as well as other WNC areas - I think we're looking at an icy glaze on some surfaces... primarily bridges and overpasses. Issues with slick roadways will be less widespread in these areas.
- Temps will stay very cold tomorrow, with highs only reaching the low to mid 30s area-wide. So, by the time we transition to rain late in the day, it will be a very cold and raw rain. Precip ends by tomorrow evening for most, with some upslope snow showers setting in along the TN border areas in WNC through early Saturday.
We'll continue to watch this system through the next 24 hours - Andy and Kendra will have updates later in the day.