Arctic air will remain entrenched across the state through the weekend and there are two potential winter weather events that could impact the region by Monday.
SNOWFALL LIKELY TOMORROW FROM RALEIGH EAST:
Light snow will likely develop and increase in coverage from roughly Burlington to east of Charlotte between 9am and noon tomorrow with temperatures rising slowly from the upper 20s to the low 30s. After lunch, a band of moderate snow may develop somewhere across the region, and under this band is where the highest accumulation totals will likely occur. Between 2:00pm and 4:00pm, snow will begin to transition to sleet from southeast to northwest before tapering off from west to east after 4:00pm.
West of Raleigh only scattered light snow is expected to fall with most locations only receiving a dusting. From Raleigh east, some areas that happen to be under the most intense bands could receive 1 to 2″ of snow, while others only receive a dusting or a little more. Right along the coast where precipitation rates will be higher an area around Greenville could see the highest totals on the order of 1 to 3″ with locally higher amounts possible.
Please also be aware that since soil temperatures are now in the mid 30s across the state that once snow begins to fall it will quickly accumulate on road surfaces, and areas that receive snow/sleet — most likely from Raleigh east — will see road conditions deteriorate rapidly tomorrow afternoon before the evening commute.
Attached, you will find our snowfall accumulation forecast map for this event.
2/15 to 2/16 POSSIBLE WINTER STORM:
A very cold Arctic air mass will move into the region on Saturday and remain in place through Monday, potentially setting the stage for wintry weather as early as Monday morning across at least western parts of the state. The earlier precipitation moves in, the more severe this winter storm will be as the cold, dry Arctic air mass will become more difficult to dislodge once precipitation is falling into it. However, if precipitation takes longer to develop, the cold air mass will gradually begin to erode as the Arctic high pressure system responsible for delivering it will be departing offshore into the Atlantic.
The latest model trends have been to slow the arrival of precipitation, and basically have it come in two parts. The first part would be with the approach of a lead shortwave disturbance aloft on Monday morning into early afternoon. Whatever we get during that period would be frozen in one form or another across all the entire state. Beyond that, there remains a large degree of uncertainty with how much precipitation will fall before the cold air is scoured out – especially in western NC.
There is higher-than-normal variability within the range of plausible numerical weather prediction solutions for this event, and so we advise all to remain alert to the latest forecasts and we will provide an update on this potential significant winter weather event tomorrow.
For watch and warning text and additional local information from the National Weather Service, please see the following links for the commanding National Weather Service offices for all North Carolina counties:
NWS Wilmington NC: http://www.erh.noaa.gov/ilm/
NWS Newport/Morehead City NC: http://www.erh.noaa.gov/mhx/
NWS Wakefield VA [for northeastern NC]: http://www.erh.noaa.gov/akq/
NWS Raleigh NC: http://www.erh.noaa.gov/rah/
NWS Blacksburg VA [northern Mountains, northern Piedmont]:http://www.erh.noaa.gov/er/rnk/
NWS Greer SC [Mountains, Piedmont including Charlotte]: http://www.erh.noaa.gov/gsp/
NWS Morristown TN [Cherokee/Clay counties in SW NC]: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/mrx/
Division of Air Quality, Attainment Planning Branch
North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality
919 707-8485 office