Significant Upslope Snow Event for the Central and Northern Mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee

There’s not too much to say about today’s non-system that hasn’t already been said, so I won’t waste any more time talking about it.  I will say that I would not be surprised to see an inch of gloppy, wet snow on the Cumberland Plateau this morning. I’ve driven up to the rest stop on I-24 in Monteagle, TN several times in situations like this, and been rewarded with some nice snowball-making snow.  And as for the second short wave, the clipper, that earlier looked like it could possibly provide parts of the Southeast with a dusting of snow on Tuesday night, well that now looks to provide only some light rain and snow flurries Tuesday afternoon, but will be a major factor in fueling the system that the majority of this blog post will concentrate on.

The cold front moves across the region today.  Light snow will overspread the mountains of eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina, and provide an inch or two of snow for locations above 2,800 feet.  Not a big deal.  The big deal comes Tuesday afternoon and night.

A winter storm watch is in effect for the following counties in the mountains of western North Carolina from Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday afternoon:  Avery, Madison, Mitchell, Madison, Yancey, Haywood, Swain, Buncombe, Graham, Ashe, Watauga, Grayson, northern Jackson, Caldwell mountains, Burke mountains and McDowell mountains.

During the day on Tuesday the upslope flow becomes firmly established across the mountains, and snow shower activity will steadily increase through the morning and early afternoon.  As the afternoon wears on an upper level disturbance will swing through the region and enhance the snow, as well as produce some wind.  That is when things get really interesting for especially the central and northern mountains of TN and NC, and especially west and northwest facing higher slopes.  Snow showers will increase to intense snow squalls and the wind will increase, producing low visibilities and blowing and drifting snow.  This will all generally be after about 2pm, and lasting through Tuesday night.  After that, the disturbance passes, and just general light to moderate snow shower activity will continue through the afternoon on Wednesday before coming to an end around sunset on Wednesday.  When all is said and done, elevations above 2,800 feet in the central and northern mountains of NC, and TN mountains along the border with NC, will have a general 3 to 6 inches of snow on the ground, and the ski resort elevations above 4,000 feet could see up to 8 inches, and possibly more than that in the most favored upslope regions.   Beech mountain, Sugar mountain and Wolf Laurel should make out very well with this event, so skiing will be back in full swing for the TN and NC ski resorts through the upcoming weekend.

Just a quick mention about the cold weather, then the warm up and severe weather chances that I mentioned in my blog yesterday.  We are definitely still on track to see some cold weather Tuesdsay and especially Wednesday.  Lows in the ATL area could drop into the 20’s with teens outside the city, with highs only in the 40’s on Tuesday, and possibly not making out of the 30’s on Wednesday.  Then starting Thursday the warm-up begins, and we are into the 60’s by the weekend.  In fact, this looks to be an awesome weekend coming up for any outdoor activities.  Heading into next week there are still some indications that a pattern that could favor some intense thunderstorm activity for parts of the eastern half of the nation could evolve by the middle or end of next week.  There is no way to be any more detailed than this right now.  This will be something that I’ll be monitoring, and as details come into better focus, I will certainly pass along my thoughts on this, but that probably won’t be until early next week.


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