Much of my thinking is the same at this time, there was a winter weather advisory posted for much of North Carolina and some surrounding areas.
Some of the snow may mix with sleet and that could really limit the snowfall totals. If that changes, some areas could receive more snow than currently forecast.
UPDATED 1:00 PM Eastern Time
I know I focus mostly on Colorado weather but when warranted, I chime in on other areas around the country when needed and with snow coming to the Carolinas, which is also where I’ve lived from 2006-2016, I want to talk about snow potential!
Snow doesn’t happen TOO much in the Carolinas so when several inches of snow is expected, it’s a pretty big deal and we all know how people in the southeast deal with snow….. 🙂
When we do get snow in the Carolinas, the forecast is usually VERY tricky and the distance between a lot of snow and no snow is usually very close in proximity. So, keep that in mind.
So, what’s up? What’s happening?
1) There’s a plume of moisture moving across the southeast bringing mostly heavy rain to most areas. this will continue through Wednesday and Thursday and move out by Friday.
2) A cold mass of air is sinking down from the north and looks to already have some of the cooler air in place across Virginia and North Carolina
3) Low pressure will form off of the coast of South Carolina and that will allow for more moisture to wrap around into the cold air.
This is generally a good setup for snow across North Carolina and a good setup for a rather impactful snow event across Eastern NC.
Beware of fake forecast
Like I said before, snow doesn’t happen much in the Carolinas so when it does, meteorologists and weather enthusiasts get rather excited. The difference between those two types of people is that most meteorologists know not to get too excited about snow until we know as much info as possible. The weather enthusiasts will post *almost* every run of a model only if includes very high and unexpected snowfall totals or if they can get likes/shares/comments off of a wild run of a model.
Just be sure that you actually have a viable source to get your weather information from. I’d suggest ANY of your local on-air meteorologists or ANYONE from the National Weather Service. Other outlets, while some of them are trustworthy, the majority of them I would say are not worthy of your attention.
Timing is going to be different depending on where you live in the state.
So, for Western North Carolina, including Asheville and Boone, expect moisture to begin Thursday morning before dawn. I say moisture because this could be in the form of light drizzle, light freezing rain, sleet or light snow. By the time everyone is waking up on Thursday in this area, snow should be falling pretty widespread across this region. It will snow for much of the day on Thursday with varying intensities. A few flurries/light snow showers may continue through the early evening hours but additional accumulation past 5pm is not expected.
For Central North Carolina, including Charlotte and Greensboro and Winston-Salem, I’m going to split this up based on areas north and south of Interstate 40. North of Interstate 40( the Triad), you can expect rain to start around 5-6 am but change over to all snow/sleet by about 10-11 am. Snow /sleet will continue through much of the day Thursday and will begin to lighten up and end by 8-11 pm from west to east. For areas south of I-40 (Charlotte), expect light rain to begin around sunrise, a cold rain will hang around a little longer here so don’t expect to see flakes fly in the Queen City until the early afternoon. Rain may even mix with snow or freezing rain before the full transition happens.
For Northeast North Carolina, including Raleigh and Rocky Mount and Greenville, expect light rain to begin to fill in around 9-11:00 am. Rain will begin to mix with snow and sleet around 12-1:00 pm. Thanks to the added moisture with the aforementioned low pressure, snow may continue in this area until early, early Friday morning. *It’s important to note that there looks to be an area stretching from about Charlotte to Greenville that may see a rain/snow mix for an elongated period of time, this will limit and hinder snow totals in this area.
For Southeast North Carolina, including Fayetteville, Jacksonville and Wilmington, expect rain showers to start you Thursday. Rain, heavy at times, will continue through much of the day. By 7-9:00 pm, areas around Jacksonville and Fayetville may see a rain/snow/sleet mix move in with a full transition to all snow for those areas expected around 10 pm to midnight with snow ending by sunrise Friday. Wilmington is likely to stay as all rain but as we head to midnight, there may be a rain/snow mix that occurs. Wilmington may see a spurt of snow from 1-4 am on Friday but snow should be done by sunrise Friday.
Snow Totals and Impacts
For Western North Carolina, it seems as though a general 2-5 inches of snow can be expected. You should expect a slow drive for the Thursday evening commute with some snow-packed roads. Friday, schools may be canceled or delayed so expect that.
For Central North Carolina, the forecast is tricky because there will be the possibility for up to 4-5 inches of snow to fall but that could be very localized. So, for the Triad, I would say to expect 1-4 inches of snow by Friday. For Charlotte, expect 0-3 inches of snow. This could definitely impact your commute on Thursday evening and Friday morning. Same story here, depending on snow totals, you could be looking at canceled or delayed schools.
For Northeast North Carolina, this is the area that could see the most snow from this system depending on how much moisture that low pressure throws at the area. For now, expect 1-5 inches of snow with the potential of more. Snow-covered roads will be an issue here as well at times.
For Southeast North Carolina, Fayetteville and Jacksonville may get an inch or two while Wilmington may get a dusting to an inch at most barring any changes. Not look at huge problems on the roads but with snow falling and wet roads, expect some slowdowns for sure.
Virginia Beach is like yot get some snow from this storm as well. Several inches could fall there. Some areas around Grenville, SC and Myrtle Beach may see a flake or two as well so keep that in mind but big impacts aren’t expected in South Carolina.
Keep track of the forecast. What I mean by that, is check the forecast FROM A VIABLE SOURCE at least 2-3 times between now and when the snow starts and then check back even after the snow starts. No forecast for the Carolinas will be a final forecast because the conditions will continually change.
Enjoy the snow! It doesn’t happen too much! But also, realize that things are going to be running rather slowly.
I’ll keep this blog updated so check back here as well.