First, a couple of housekeeping items in this update. The National Weather Service office in Raleigh has added a big chunk of central North Carolina to the Winter Storm Watch, including Raleigh-Durham and Greensboro and Winston-Salem. The watch now includes Anson, Richmond, Stanly and Montgomery counties in our area. Also, the Weather Service in Greenville-Spartanburg has added Lincoln, Catawba, Caldwell, Iredell, Alexander and Rowan counties to the Watch area, because the latest computer models show the heavy snow spreading farther north than first thought.
Also, you won’t see any firm snowfall accumulation forecasts in this post. It’s still too early for that. As WBTV’s Al Conklin tweeted a short time ago, the low pressure system that will bring our bad weather hasn’t even fully formed yet.
Now, on to the upcoming storm:
1. IT WILL GET COLD -- REALLY COLD (stealing a line from “Day After Tomorrow”)
Seriously, we are facing some pipe-busting cold weather from Saturday morning until Tuesday morning. The temperature could stay below freezing from 10 p.m. Friday until noon Tuesday. Monday morning’s low could be in single digits. Prepare for an unusually extended period of cold weather.
2. NOT ALL COMPUTER GUIDANCE SAYS “BIG SNOW”
The North American Model (NAM), for example, shows the system arriving earlier Friday evening, when temperatures are still above freezing, and moving out early Saturday. That would mean mostly rain for the Charlotte area. The NAM is in the minority, but it has to be considered.
3. THE TIMING ON ALL THIS (updated at 10:20 a.m.)
Today will be a quiet and cooler day (upper 40s). Friday will be dry and above freezing until late afternoon. At this point, it looks like light rain arrives around 2 p.m., then changes to snow sometime between 7 and 9 pm. Snow continues until about 9 or 10 a.m. Saturday. Some sun could return Saturday afternoon, but it’ll be very cold.
4. WORST-CASE SCENARIO
If the storm is strong enough and tracks close to the Carolinas coast, we could get a 5-8 inch snowfall from this. And with temperatures staying so cold, very little melting will take place. Anything that melts in the 2-5 p.m. timeframe Sunday or Monday afternoons will re-freeze at night.
I’ll keep updating throughout the day. Gotta find some time to get bread and milk!