Tuesday morning discussion....

>> Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A major winter storm in on the way for a large portion of the Southeast. First of all, a lead wave will spread precip through SC and southern NC today. However, this precip will be fairly light in nature, but in many areas, it will be in the form of snow. Some fairly minor snow accumulations will be possible across the southern mountains, foothills, and piedmont of NC and northern SC, especially on elevated and grassy surfaces.

There will be a lull in the action tonight, and then we will gear up for the much more significant wave of precipitation tomorrow and tomorrow night.

An area of low pressure will organize in the northern Gulf of Mexico and begin to spread a large shield of precipitation northeastward through the region. A healthy wedge, or cold air damming, scenario will unfold as this system moves through.

For NC, the heaviest precipitation will likely occur tomorrow afternoon through the evening. Then, as the system is beginning to pull away, a final band of moderate to heavy snow will then pivot through somewhere around the region Thursday morning. The placement of this final feature remains a bit up in the air.

For this discussion, I am having to hone in more on NC than the rest of the region due to limited time and resources. I am not at home or the weather office today. I will be back on the air at Time Warner Cable News bright and early tomorrow morning for the Triad television market.

Now, the big question..... accumulations. For the mountains and foothills, this is a pretty straight-forward forecast. It's snow, and a lot of it. Many areas, especially in the foothills, could see 6-10" of snow....and probably more for some more depending on small-scale features.

Then you get to the I-85 corridor. This area, including Charlotte and much of the Triad itself, will be very close to the battle ground area between snow and sleet. The more sleet that is involved, the more you will see your total accumulation on the ground decrease due to the less efficient accumulation sleet as as opposed to snow. I could envision a scenario where places like Shelby, Lincolnton, Hickory, Mt. Airy, and maybe even Winston-Salem stay all (or at least the vast majority) snow through the event, while places just to the southeast have sleet mix in during the middle of the event. But this line is certainly subject to adjustment, and it will likely mean the difference in 5" of snow vs. 10" of snow in some areas.

So that makes an accumulation call very difficult. At the moment, for the immediate I-85 corridor in NC, I would lean toward 4-8" of snow, but there is certainly bust potential there depending on the sleet. In the areas just northwest of there, that is where some areas could approach or maybe even exceed 10" if they stay all snow.

Further to the south and east, that is where you get squarely into the sleet and freezing rain area. The hope has to be in these areas that you see more sleet than freezing rain. Otherwise, it's a devastating ice storm, and I'm afraid it will be in some areas. I am still honing in on those areas, but basically as you get around I-95 and into the Sandhills and down toward Columbia, the potential is there for a major, major ice storm. This major icing concern will extend westward through a good chunk of SC and into Georgia.

So those are the thoughts this as of this typing. Folks in the western and central Carolinas as well as north Georgia need to prepare for a major winter storm...the biggest, most widespread major winter storm in a number of year. Prepare for the potential for extended power outages, especially in the heaviest snow areas and of course the ice storm areas. Prepare for travel to become nearly if not impossible by tomorrow afternoon and evening, and remain that way probably at least through Thursday.


John 7:36 AM  

How much sleet/ice do you predict in Greensboro?

Matthew East 8:28 AM  

New post just put up, including a new video...

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