Weekend Winter Weather Update Posted 7pm 12/5/18

Wednesday, December 5, 2018 - 7:25pm

It's Wednesday evening and we are starting to get into the window where the short range models will start to provide data for us with this weekends storm. Here is one last look at the GFS model data and what the long range models are showing. Starting tomorrow morning I will continue to use the models for data purposes. i will begin to show data in these post from the short range models  going forward. 


The GFS data above shows rain moving into the county just after midday on Saturday afternoon. The period of rain will be brief based on model data as a wintry mix of rain, freezing rain, sleet and snow will occur as we move through the afternoon hours. 



By Saturday evening the GFS has all snow around the county and most of the region. we could see periods of brief heavy snow that may accumulate quickly. 


During the overnight hours on Sunday morning we could see a period of a snow sleet mix. This will contribute to the possible ice accumulation around the county.


Sunday morning around 7am we will see cold air start to win out again and periods of brief heavy snow will be possible  one again. Throughout this storm we will see the transition of all snow to a mix to all rain to continue to meander back and forth throughout Sunday and Monday. 



The GFS is showing the chance for around 17 inches of snowfall around the county by early Monday morning. These totals are likely inflated with the accumulations for rain and ice being mixed in. Models have a difficult job of differentiating between the various types of accumulation. 



The European Model is indicating 18 inches of snowfall for the county. Again these totals may be inflated based on the various types of precipitation we will see with this system.



The Ensemble Models are indicating around 13 inches of snowfall for the county. This is a little closer to reality but still a bit inflated based on the various types of precipitation we will get with this system. Looking at the probabilities of snowfall gets a bit interesting now that we are a few days out form the storm arriving.



The probability map above is giving the county a 50% chance of seeing around 12 inches of snowfall. I will summarize my current forecast at the end of this blog. I want to point out quickly how the low and the track of the low will be important to the type of precipitation we get over the weekend.



The European Model shows the low tracking just off the coast along the state of Georgia by Sunday evening. 



The GFS shows the low along the coast of South Carolina Sunday afternoon. These variances can make all the difference in the world. If the low follows the GFS path. Warmer air will be pulled in faster limiting the snowfall amounts and bringing in a stronger chance of ice accumulation. The European track favors a snow lovers dream of more snow and less ice and rain. The low is further south and pulling in more cold air for a longer duration of time. As these models start to come into agreement we will be able to really pin point accumulations over the next few days.


My current forecast is as follows.

  • Rain moves into the county around lunchtime Saturday. We will see a wintry mix start to work its way in as we move through the afternoon hours on Saturday. By late evening Saturday we may see a mix of snow and sleet before transitioning to all snow early Sunday. 
  • Snow accumulations of 3-5 inches 
  • Ice accumulation of around a tenth of an inch.


Important things to do if you haven't already done them.

  • Prepare to be stuck in your home form late Saturday through Monday.
  • Plan for possible power outages.
  • If you have a generator please use it outside an not in a garage, carport or shed.
  • If you allow your children to play outside in the snow. Limit outdoor activity to prevent frostbite and hypothermia. 
  • Dress in layers if you head outside. 
  • Bring in your outdoor pets or allow them to have a warm place to bed down for this event.

I will continue to keep you updated right here and on social media. As always thank you for following Rowan County Weather!

Please let our local sponsors know that you appreciate their support of our blog. Take a moment to visit their website linked at the top of this post.