Weekend Storm... A Lot of Bark, But How Much Bite?

>> Thursday, December 09, 2010

Saturday: Cloudy with rain possible very late, but most of it holding off until Sunday morning. Highs 52-56 around Charlotte & 51-54 northern Foothills.

Sunday: This one is complex! The storm system creating all the buzz will move toward the Great Lakes Saturday evening and produce a strong cold front advancing through the TN Valley Sunday morning. Rain will move in Sunday morning as snow mixes in along the ridgetops of the NC Mountains and some sections of the NC Foothills. Again, rain will move in first. That is the main focus of the weekend forecast, yet will probably be OVERLOOKED from now until Sunday.

Now that all the seemingly boring "rain talk" is out of the way, the focus shifts to cold and the possibility of… well ______ . ***Snow will fall in Western North Carolina (mainly above 3000') and will accumulate… with a rough estimate on accumulations at 2-5″. Even though I'm not real familiar with the foothills area, I do think Hickory gets snow in this situation, as does the Burke County area near Morganton. Not only accumulating snow, but high winds driving wind chills at or below zero!*** I also feel good about snow in North Georgia due to a somewhat limited dry-downsloping effect from lesser elevations of southeast TN. I have to tell you that I'm usually optimistic about snow chances when they present themselves, but As of yet, I haven’t forecasted accumulating snow for the Upstate of SC. In this situation I’m glad I haven’t. Here’s why:

2 things:

(1) As many people know, the NC Mountains have a major impact on the Charlotte area (in a westerly or northwesterly wind situation). Forecasters can’t ever discount this area’s topography and it’s impact on storm systems. For snow in the Charlotte area, if you don’t have the storm system to your south (or along the coast) and you want snow, well it’s a stretch. This time we don’t… this system will be centered north of us as it tracks into New England. In this situation, a downsloping wind may completely knock out most of the precipitation unless the cold front and temperature gradient produces enhanced precipitation along the front.

(2) All models indicate a nice, uniform line of rain along this front. Word of caution: forecast models always lay out an eye-pleasing, uniform line of rain along the front… yet when the actual storm gets here it’s usually broken and ragged. That’s just the fact of the matter. A ragged line of precipitation makes a lot of sense when you consider that most of the storm energy will pivot north of us.

With all those things said, I suppose Charlotte to Greensboro will have a chance at a narrow band or quick burst of snow along the tail end of the system. That is, unless this thing shows a CONTINUING strenthening trend on forecast models, tilts further negative and allows for cold air intrusion quicker. Still, my gut says forecast models are optimistic on the moisture along the front.

I will have a model comparison of upper-level energy up shortly...


Anonymous 11:03 PM  

No snow for Charlotte. Sorry folks. Mountains of course. N. GA above 2500 ft. Quite possible. Charlotte, Nada. Triad..... nope. Maybe a loose flurry.

DoubleJ 12:23 PM  

Anon-Apparantly you must think we can't read what Andy Wood wrote. But thanks for clearing that up and continuing to be a jackwagon.

Anonymous 3:53 PM  

I just figured I would say it now before other people begin asking. And you are more than welcome. =]

jtomlinwx 3:57 PM  

Hey DoubleJ I don't know who that is, but just don't worry bout em! They're just bein a pessimist

Anonymous 4:14 PM  

Its called being a realist. And let me guess.... you think its going to snow, don't you?

Anonymous 4:26 PM  

I'm with Anon on this. Leave the poor guy alone. He is just being a realist.

Anonymous 4:28 PM  

LOL. Thanks other Anon!

Jonathan (Hickory, NC) 4:50 PM  

Andy, I think what you said about Charlotte also applies to Hickory and Morganton. I will be very surprised if we see snow out of this up here. We also need the low to our south, because we don't have the elevation to produce our cold. Hickory is around 1000 ft. The mountains always block the cold and rob moisture when the systems come from the west and not the south. Don't get me wrong, I hope that I do get snow, but I'm not very optimistic in this situation. The cold is going to have to rush in with the moisture instead of behind it if we're going to get anything.

Anonymous 5:29 PM  

No snow for Charlotte.

Anonymous 9:18 PM  

Ok, snow fans... time to start thinking about heading up north if you want to see snow! Or maybe we might get lucky and see a foot of snow in Charlotte (lol!)

Anonymous 10:26 PM  

Yeah. No.

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