Travel-disrupting storm possible Wednesday in Carolinas

Sunday’s daylong soaking rain was merely the start of a wild weather week that could include a travel-disrupting storm system on the day before Thanksgiving, forecasters said.

A low-pressure system expected to develop Tuesday off the Florida coast could bring a wide path of drenching rain and heavy snow up the East Coast on Wednesday and early Thursday, possibly having a big impact on millions of holiday travelers.

For the Carolinas, the precipitation will fall as rain, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Pat Moore. But he said that, depending on the storm track, several inches of mountain snow is a possibility.

Farther to the north, across Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and New York, the storm could bring a wind-driven rain and snow.

“Enough cold air will be in place for the rain to fall as, mix with or change into snow in many communities in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast,” AccuWeather meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski said. “Such a storm could drop a swath of substantial and disruptive snow from Virginia’s I-81 corridor to New England.”

But some meteorologists said Sunday that temperatures could be low enough for some snow to fall in North Carolina on Wednesday. The Weather Channel, for example, was forecasting a rain-snow mix in Charlotte.

The Weather Service’s Moore said rain is more likely for the Carolinas Piedmont, because the latest computer guidance indicates that temperatures in the area would be lower, but not low enough for snow.

Either way, it appears as if the busiest travel day of the year would be stormy across the Carolinas and up the East Coast. Dry conditions are expected farther to the west, forecasters said.

A drenching rain that had been predicted for Charlotte arrived before daybreak Sunday, setting the stage for a raw day, with temperatures in the lower 50s for much of the afternoon. A pocket of cool air that enveloped the Piedmont prevented the development of severe thunderstorms, which pummeled parts of southern Georgia on Sunday afternoon.

The heavy storms formed south of a warm front that was forecast to push across the Charlotte area early Monday, allowing temperatures to climb into the lower 60s by daybreak Monday. A windy and unseasonably warm day is forecast Monday, with highs around 70 degrees in Charlotte but winds gusting to about 25 mph.

Another cold front is expected to cross the Carolinas late Monday, and afternoon temperatures Tuesday will return to the low and mid-50s. That will set the stage for Wednesday’s rain, which is expected to move into the Charlotte area before daybreak.