A classic and potentially historic Winter Storm is now just days away from hitting NC. Now is the time to start preparing for power outages and to be stuck in your house for a few days, if you are from Greensboro and points west. Evening Update: A major winter storm is looking likely for NC this weekend. A long duration event lasting from late Saturday through Monday afternoon very uncommon for NC more a Midwest storm! Due to this type of situation more impacts and higher totals than usual looks likely.
WHAT: A classic setup for winter weather will settle in late-week. Cold high pressure to the north, with low pressure in the Gulf of Mexico. The tricky part is tracking it from there. It all about the track, there has been some more organization among the models today regarding the track but not enough. Below is my first guess based on a verity of models of where snow, sleet mix or just rain will fall. I feel pretty confident that a Heavy snow will fall from Greensboro and points west this area will see a historic storm, power outages is expected with the heavy wet snow. East of Greensboro will be a battle ground of snow, sleet, and freezing rain and just plain rain. East of Raleigh will be mostly rain. The Triangle and points east, models remain very unsure exactly how the rain/snow line will set up or occur, some areas could see plain rain or snow. East of i95 sorry looks to be just plain old rain. This can change over the next few days as of right now this is the best map.
Below is my snow/ice accumulating map which we have been showing since Sunday evening! Feeling pretty comfortable with this map as of tonight, added some new designs to better help you understand. Map is based on many models and ensembles. Will not be talking totals just yet or even precipitation type with snow vs ice. However, accumulating snow/ice is very likely in the mountains. Pretty likely north Triad, north, and west of I-85. Possible south of I-85 still lots up in the air here. Not likely south and east of Raleigh at this point.
IMPORTANT FOLKS GREENSBORO WEST: This winter storm has the potential to be historic. Please have all of your necessities ready to go by Saturday. This is a dangerous storm. Even those who enjoy snow and winter know the fine line between a great snow and a disaster. This is leaning toward the later. It is imperative you have enough food and water to sustain yourself for 72 hours minimum. Have an alternate means of heating. Be sure not to bring grills, generators, or other fume producing items into buildings. Based on current models travel will not be able to happen in western NC. An high impact event is likely, now is great time to buy your bread and milk..
Important to remember, that small differences in the storm track make a huge difference. Track 3 along the coast favor snow for everyone west of the track. Track 1 (inland track) favors rain for most of everyone but the mountains. The track between (Green-White) favor an icy mix mess for Triad and foothills, while mountains see a beautiful snow and triangle sees a cold rain with points to the east.
Many ingredients are coming together to allow for a major Winter Storm this weekend across NC, a cold high pressure to our north and a developing coastal low to the south are prefect for a winter storm NC. Just how those ingredients come together will ultimately impact our storm. It looks to be a classic setup for the Carolinas, with cold air to the north, and a wet system moving in from the south in the Gulf. The questions, of course, are what track will it take, how much cold air is available, what type or types of precipitation will we see, and how much. These details will be tough to nail down until we get a little closer. Let me remind you, many snowfall amounts maps are being rapidly shared. Snowfall maps greater than 3 days out are simply wrong, no one knows how much snow or ice will fall yet. Tomorrow short range models come into play which will give us a better idea.
TIMING: West of Raleigh! - Dry Saturday morning - Earliest possible start time would be midday Saturday (if it starts before sunset, likely a rain/snow mix) - Most likely start time would be Saturday evening - Snow or snow/sleet mix Saturday night into Sunday - Wintry mix on Monday as the storm leaves
Below is where impacts are likely and possible, If you live in the mountains and foothills don't get caught up in the snow/ice amounts right now. Trust me there is a high confidence it will be more than enough to cause significant impacts to travel and possibly power outages. So start putting together a winter storm plan there bread and milk is a yes there!
HOW MUCH: I know the real answer everyone wants to know is how much snow/ ice will come down. Be patient here, with it being 4+ days away and major different solutions among models. I can't simply sit here and competently put out a snowfall map, while other news stations and pages are that's just throwing a bunch of numbers on a map and calling it a day essentially. However, the system is projected to have 1-2"+ of liquid which can lead to significant, impressive totals of winter weather -- either snow or ice or both.
Lots of time to go and lots will change, no real to panic or freak out yet. One thing for sure is a major winter storm threat is defiantly increasing if not historic for Triad/ western NC.
Here’s a guideline of our forecast:
Today- make or break day
Thursday- First Call Snowfall map
Friday Second or maybe third call, everyone panics
Saturday- Final call Saturday Night- Event begins..
Stay with North Carolina's Weather Authority throughout the week trust in me I got you covered, our next full update will be later this evening, with a first call snowfall map possible. Don't hesitate to message with questions on our Facebook page.