Our first major winter storm for NC is just days away, let's start with this system is still over 3,000 miles away. The threat of a significant winter storm for the NC is increasing. Long duration of snow / ice or both is possible for some in NC. Starting late Saturday lasting through as long as Monday is possible. First, let's start off with anyone who is posting one model showing major accumulation of snow and ice is just trying to hype everything and get likes, this forecast update tonight is strongly based off many models and their ensembles.
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 idea among the models today regarding the track but not enough 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 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 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.
TIMING: Saturday night into Monday. This long duration is unusual and rare
IMPACTS: Some accumulation of snow and ice is becoming likely for foothills and mountains other areas still up in the air. Disruptive travel looking more likely, especially Sunday and Monday. Power outage threat will depend on how much snow / ice we see and where.
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.
Tons of time to go and lots will change, no real to panic or freak out yet. All week to track, but this is looking like a major winter storm for some in NC and others not so much.
Here’s a guideline of our forecast:
Wednesday- 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 in the morning and major update tomorrow evening. Don't hesitate to message with questions on our Facebook page.