Weekend Winter Weather Update Posted 8pm 12/4/18

Tuesday, December 4, 2018 - 8:20pm

The big topic this week has been the winter storm that appears to be making its way toward the Carolinas this weekend. I am going to spend the next few days giving you updates in the form of blog post in the morning and then an evening update. Confidence in the forecast is getting high. I started tracking the potential for winter weather for this weekend last Wednesday. I first mentioned this to you last Saturday after watching the models continue to trend toward some sort of wintry precipitation this weekend. Over the past few days the focus has been on the types of precipitation we will see. Those types have been consistent with this system. We will see all types with this system from  to include rain, snow, sleet and freezing rain. Let's take a look at the current state of the models. I will start with the GFS. The timing on this storm has changed over the past few days with the GFS. The current data shows the stor moving into the county early Sunday morning and lingering into the daytime hours of Tuesday. Please note this will not be a constant snow event regardless of when it arrives and leaves the county.


The GFS is showing the precipitation moving into the county around 1am Sunday morning. As we move through the overnight we see precipitation starting off with rain. then a transition to sleet. 



By 7am Sunday morning the GFS is showing all snow falling throughout most of the area. From this point the GFS has snow falling through most of the day Sunday. 



Aa we move into the evening hours on Sunday the GFS has some warm air moving back into the county bringing us back to all rain. Then cold air starts to win out as we move into the overnight hours into Monday.


The GFS has snow continue around the county through early Tuesday morning. The big inconsistency with most of the models is the actual timing of the precipitation. The models all tend to agree with the wintry mix with some subtle changes on when and how long the precipitation types occur. 



The GFS is doing a pretty good job of showing the majority of precipitation from this event being rain and snow. So this does change the potential in snowfall accumulation. Let's take a look at the accumulation totals the models are forecasting.



The GFS model is calling for 19 inches of snowfall around the county. Please remember as I have stated over the past few days. These totals will be inflated in the models because the models can not differentiate between rainfall, snowfall, sleet and freezing rain accumulation. 



The European Models is showing the county with 14 inches of snowfall. Again these totals are likely inflated because of the various types of precipitation we will see with this event.



The Ensemble model data is showing 8 inches of snowfall around the county. This is a more likely scenario as this point. I will give a summary below of what my current forecast is for the county in terms of accumulation. Please stay updated with my forecast right here on the website as well as on social media by following Rowan County Weather on Facebook and Twitter. 


Here is my current forecast. 

  • Rain will move into the county during the midday hours around the county. As we move into Saturday afternoon we will see a transition from rain to sleet as the air above us starts to cool down. 
  • Snow will begin to move into the county as we move into the late afternoon and evening hours on Saturday. I do feel we will see several hours of snowfall as we move through the evening hours on Saturday into the daytime hours on Sunday.
  • We will likely see a wintry mix throughout the day as warm air meanders back and forth with this system. 
  • The precipitation will begin to move out of the county during the midday hours on Monday.
  • This is looking like a wedge event where cold air gets trapped against the mountains. The air will be dense at times and very shallow at times causing these transitional periods with the precipitation.
  • You can expect 3-5 inches of snowfall with this system around the county
  • Ice accumulations are possible up to a tenth of an inch. 
  • The totals for accumulation will become clear as we move through the next 24-36 hours. 

I will continue to update you right here and on social media as we continue to march toward the weekend. As always thank you for following Rowan County Weather!

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