Winter storm update

7am Saturday, January 7, 2017 –


The winter storm is quickly moving away this morning, after bringing mostly rain to the area overnight. Colder air will move in this morning, changing rain showers to snow flurries and light freezing drizzle through early afternoon. No accumulation is expected, although some spots could see a brief coating of snow.

5pm Friday, January 6, 2017 –

The winter storm moving across our area tonight and tomorrow will bring us mostly rain.


In this “Winter Weather Advisories” map, the pink shaded counties are in a Winter Storm Warning, and over two inches of snow is possible. The blue shaded counties are in a Winter Weather Advisory, and a coating to as much as two inches of snow is possible. export2


The rain has already started, and temperatures in our area are all safely above freezing. Temperatures will fall into the 30s tonight, but stay above freezing. The steady precipitation will come to an end early tomorrow morning, and for most of us, it will end as rain. However, scattered showers will continue into the afternoon hours, and it will become cold enough through the morning for these to be snow, even at the coast.



There is potential for a coating to an inch or two of snow with these snow showers west of I-95 and north of I-20. Areas east of I-95 may see a coating during a heavier burst of snow, but most places will not see any accumulation.


This storm system will produce heavy snow just to the north and west of our viewing area. Greenville, Charlotte and Raleigh will all get substantial snowfall.



10am Friday, January 6, 2017 – Winter storm update…This mornings computer models are still trending the same way as last nights, warmer and quicker. Snow fall amounts for our area haven’t changed with the latest model runs but further to the north the accumulations could be quite significant.


Rain will move in later this afternoon and could get heavy as we go into early Saturday morning.

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The track of the low, closer to the coast, and the heavy rain will help keep the colder air out. The low will continue to track up the coast and as the rain winds down on the back side of the low, the cold air comes in.

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We’ll see the brief switch over from rain to a mix then to snow through the first part of Saturday. There’s not a lot of moisture left over when the cold air arrives but we could see a few snow bursts into the early afternoon. The system moves out mid to late afternoon and that’s when the really cold air gets here.


Model predictions have been fairly consistent over the past few runs, showing low numbers for our area, much higher to the north in North Carolina.

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The first is the higher resolution model which mirrors the Future Track images you see above. Look like the best potential for accumulating snowfall for our area is in Scotland county, and parts of Chesterfield, Marlboro, and Robeson Counties.


A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect from 10pm Friday – 1am Sunday for Scotland county. A Winter Storm Watch is in effect for Robeson, Dillon, Marlboro & Darlington counties from 10pm Friday to 10pm Saturday. A Winter Storm Warning is in effect from 1am to 1pm Saturday for Chesterfield. These shaded/colored areas are the most likely places to see snow accumulations throughout the day on Saturday with increasing amounts to the north.


10pm Thursday, January 5, 2017 – Quick update… The evening computer models are starting to come in, and they are trending warmer and quicker. This will mean less snow in our area. I am going to wait and look at the full suite of computer models before making any changes to the forecast… but wanted to let you know that the early trend is for less snow.


5pm Thursday, January 5, 2017 – 

Saturday is a Weather Alert Day due to the potential for wintry weather.


Most of this storm will be rain, and for most of our area, snowfall amounts will be light, but some accumulating snow is likely in Scotland county, and parts of Chesterfield, Marlboro, and Robeson Counties. 2-4 inches of snow is possible in these areas. This area will start as rain late Friday, continue as rain for most of Friday night before turning to snow early morning and continuing as snow until 10am.


Further south to approximately I-25/I-95-ish, the rain will change to a period of snow after dawn and continue until 11am. In this area, a coating to as much as 2 inches of snow is possible.


South of I-25, and east of I-95, this storm will be mostly rain. In this area, it is possible that the rain will end as a burst of snow between 11am and 2pm. Some spots could see it snow hard enough to turn the ground white for a brief period of time.


During the time when the rain is transitioning to snow, there may be a brief period of sleet or freezing rain, but this would last less than an hour, and substantial ice accumulation is not expected.


It will get very cold behind this storm system, and night time low temperatures Saturday, Sunday and Monday nights will fall into the 20s. Areas that have snow on the ground during these nights will have temperatures in the teens.


5pm Wednesday, January 4, 2017 – 

My thinking on this storm system has not changed since yesterday. There is not much data from the storm being entered into the weather forecasting computer models, so they continue to be inconsistent. That should change later tonight. The upper level storm system that will eventually produce the storm that may bring us some snow will move over land in Oregon tonight, and that will allow weather stations and weather balloon to sample the storm, and finally plus that data into the computer models. Tomorrow’s forecasts should be better, and I will hopefully have a bit more confidence.


Anyway, here is what I am thinking this afternoon… a storm system will develop in the Gulf of Mexico on Friday, and will have plenty of moisture as it heads toward the Carolinas. Cold air will be in place, but on Friday, it will not be cold enough for snow. So this will start as rain late Friday. The switch over to snow depends on how quickly the really cold air moves into the Carolinas. This could happen as early as Friday night, but more likely will be at some point on Saturday.



As cold air filters into the Carolinas, rain will change to snow from west to east. The best chance of accumulating snow will be west of I-95.


But even areas along the coast have the chance for a burst of snow as the storm is ending… if the cold air gets here in time. There is a chance for an inch or two of snow west of I-95. Higher amounts will be north of Fayetteville in North Carolina. East of I-95 will be mostly rain, but even here a quick burst of snow at the end could leave a coating.


Remember, there is a high amount of uncertainty with this storm, and these snow amounts can go up or down, by a little or by alot. We will have better data tomorrow.


7pm Tuesday, January 3, 2017 – 

A storm system forecast to move across the Carolinas this weekend has the potential to bring some snow! It is too early to nail down a confident forecast, so timing, temperature and storm impacts are all up in the air. The storm looks like it will arrive Friday night or Saturday morning, then move away late in the day on Saturday. It will be much colder by the weekend, and there will be plenty of moisture available in the Gulf of Mexico.


Bitter cold weather has moved into the northern plains, and late Tuesday afternoon many places were below zero. This cold weather is slowly pressing southward. A cold front will move through the Carolinas late Wednesday, bringing an end to our warm weather, and dropping temperatures Wednesday night and Thursday. While it will be much colder Thursday and Friday, temperatures will just be back to normal, and not necessarily cold enough for snow. A weak storm system should develop offshore from the Carolinas on Thursday. This storm will strengthen Friday while it is off of New England, and this will allow even colder weather to move into the Carolinas for the weekend. Since this weak storm system has yet to develop, it is hard to forecast when it will strengthen on Friday, which leads to trouble timing the even colder weather arriving over the weekend. If this cold is too slow, it will miss the big storm system, and we will just get rain.


Speaking of the big storm system, it is still located off the Oregon coast where it has stalled. It is forecast to start moving again on Wednesday, but computer models have a hard time forecasting “cut off” storm systems, and the timing of when this storm will start moving is hard to forecast, making it hard to determine when it will be in the Carolinas. Also… this storm system is over the ocean, and there is very little data from the storm being fed into our computer models. This is the same problem we have with hurricanes, and one of the reasons we send hurricane hunter aircraft into tropical storms. The Oregon storm will not be over land until late Wednesday, meaning there will be no upper air observations from the storm until the evening weather balloon releases. We will have to wait until late Wednesday night or early Thursday morning before we get computer model forecasts with actual data from this storm. Alot can change with the computer model forecasts when they finally get some good data.


A preliminary forecast with limited data and several variables has this storm system moving in Friday night or early Saturday. Some spots west of I-95 could start as snow, but I think most of us in our part of the Carolinas will start as rain. If the cold air moves in fast enough, we could see that rain changing to snow from west to east. If it gets cold enough, snow is even possible along the coast… but that it where we will see the lowest chance for snow.


Here is one of the computer snowfall forecasts for our area. This is from the morning run of the European computer model. It calls for rain changing to some snow west of I-95, but accumulations will be mostly less than an inch. The GFS computer model does predict more snow in our area, but right now, that looks like the less likely of the two. The computer model forecasts continue to show wild swings in their snowfall forecasts… so until we get some more continuity in the forecasts, and snowfall amount forecasts are just a guess.

We will continue to post updates as needed… stay tuned!

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