Thursday, October 30, 2014

Maybe some snow for Charlotte, after all

Bulletin boards on meteorology websites have come alive in the past 24 to 48 hours in advance of the arrival of an unusual autumn storm system that appears likely to bring a real taste of winter to parts of the Carolinas.

The approaching system is an early wake-up call for snow-lovers, who probably thought they'd have to wait another month.

Let's start out by saying that you won't need to worry about shoveling snow in Charlotte. There hasn't been accumulating snow here before Nov. 11 since 1878, according to the National Weather Service.

But at least some of the computer guidance used by the Weather Service and other professional meteorologists continues to insist that the ground might get coated Saturday in areas not far from Charlotte.

The National Weather Service has jumped aboard the Snow Express and decided Thursday afternoon to mention snow as part of the forecast for Charlotte on Saturday morning. The official forecast calls for "little or no accumulation," but it's amazing that the Weather Service even has to deal with the possibility of accumulating snow this early in the season.

The likely scenario is that some folks near Charlotte will see snowflakes mixing with the rain showers at times Saturday morning.

It looks as if it will be a much more wintry picture in the mountains.

The storm system is in western Canada on Thursday. It is forecast to push quickly across Canada and then dive southeast, wrapping around a kink in the jet stream. The storm system, which computer models predict will be quite strong, is predicted to across the Carolinas on Saturday and then intensify when it reaches the coast. After that, it might push up the East Coast, possibly as some version of a nor'easter.

One National Weather Service report indicated Saturday's storm system -- considering the strength and the cold temperatures accompanying it -- is a once-in-50-years event.

Winter storm warnings are posted for the North Carolina mountains bordering Tennessee, where 4 to 6 inches of wet snow is a good bet Saturday. Appalachian State University has a home football game at 3:30 p.m. Saturday against Georgia State.  Conditions in Boone might be interesting.

Winter weather advisories are in effect for lower mountain elevations, including Asheville. But since the ground is still quite warm and Saturday is only the first day of November, it just seems too early for an accumulating snow event in non-mountain areas.

So forecasters are hedging their bets a bit about snow in places like Asheville.

In Charlotte, Saturday is likely to be a raw day. We'll have mostly cloudy skies, off-and-on rain (with maybe a few snowflakes mixed in), cold temperatures and a gusty breeze. Highs might not climb out of the lower 40s, especially if it stays cloudy all day.

It was in the 80s Tuesday. It seems weird to be talking about snow on Saturday. But as longtime Carolinas' residents know, that's often how it works out.


Anonymous said...

I like the Fall much more than Winter, but hopefully this is a taste of bigger things to come this December and January.

Not to thrilled about temps getting back to the 70's next week. Looks like another roller coaster weather pattern setting up. Grrrrrrr......

Unknown said...

Snow in Charlotte in November? I am always skeptical when I hear that. And such was the case on Saturday. It certainly was raw. I had to be out to run a few errands. The rain was never all that hard in my area, just enough to need an umbrella. Holding the umbrella in chilly temperatures and a gusty wind certainly made life interesting for my hands. But nothing was really all that severe.

Now if I can get through this week's summer blast...

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