Winter Storm Begins Overnight

SATURDAY EVENING UPDATE (1/15)
Ice continues to be our primary threat across the Piedmont. With significant ice accumulation and winds gusting up to 40 mph, scattered to numerous power outages are likely. The highest ice accumulation will occur south of I-85 with .30-.50” possible.
Winter Weather ThreatsSNOW AND ICE TOTALS:
  •  The mountains will see mainly snow with a brief mix possible. Most locations will see between 6”-10” of snow with a foot possible.
  •  For those near and along I-40 can expect snow and a mix of sleet and freezing rain. 2”-6” of snow with 0.10-0.25” of ice.
  •  Just north and south of I-85 can expect snow and a mix. 1”-2” of snow with 0.25”-0.50” of ice.
  •  The southern Piedmont will see freezing rain and sleet with very little snow accumulation if any. 0.30”-0.50” of ice.

TIMING:

  • This is an all day Sunday event between 2 AM – 11 PM. Dry air will build across the southern Piedmont earlier than the Foothills and Mountains, therefore, precipitation will likely end around dinner time there.

POTENTIAL LASTING IMPACTS:

  • Icy travels
  • Power Outages
  • Downed Trees

Refreezing will occur Monday morning so stay off the roads if you can. Temperatures on Monday will only top out in the upper 30s, therefore, any moisture left over will freeze again Monday night into Tuesday morning. That is when the coldest temperatures of the season occur as we bottom out in the teens.

Prepare over the next couple of hours before conditions deteriorate. Be sure to have food, water, medicine you may need along with extra batteries for flash lights in the event you lose power. Stay safe!

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SATURDAY MORNING UPDATE (1/15)
A Winter and Ice Storm Warning will go into effect tonight. 
Winter Weather Alerts
Changes from the previous forecast:
Snowfall totals have been cut down with this truly looking like a significant ice event for much of the area. Snow will transition quickly to sleet and then freezing rain for the I-85 corridor before daybreak. By noon, this will move north into the I-40 corridor. The strongest wind will be during the morning with gusts up to 40mph possible. This along with the weight of ice that will be accumulating will likely bring down some trees and cause widespread power outages. Drier air will end the end event by dinnertime for our South Carolinas counties Sunday, but wrap-around colder air will give another burst of snow for areas west of I-77. Snow will end for Charlotte by 9 pm and by midnight for the mountains. Temps will remain below freezing Monday morning with wind chills in the 20s through the day Monday. Make sure your winter weather preps are complete by tonight.
Winter Weather Threats
Snow and Ice Totals:
Mountains: 6-10″ of snow, glaze of ice
Foothills into I-40 corridor: 2-6″ of snow, .10-.25″ of ice
I-40 into I-85 corridor: 1-2″ of snow, .25-.50″ of ice
South of I-85″ <1″ of snow, .30-.50″ of ice
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FRIDAY EVENING (1/14/2022)
 A Winter Storm Warning and an Ice Storm Warning is now in place ahead of Sundays winter storm.

TIMING:

This is an all day Sunday event.

PRECIPITATION TYPE:

The precipitation type will have multiple transitions and be different region to region.

Snowfall Forecast Kaitlin

 

IMPACT:

Ice will be our primary threat – especially around Uptown + south and east of Charlotte where these areas could pick up .25-.50” of ice. With ice accumulation and winds gusting up to 30 mph this could lead to scattered/numerous power outages and downed trees. Travel will be bad. Stay off the roads! Refreezing will occur Monday morning.Forecast Ice Potential

Refreezing will occur Monday morning so stay off the roads if you can. Temperatures on Monday will only top out in the upper 30s, therefore, any moisture left over will freeze again Monday night into Tuesday morning. That is when the coldest temperatures of the season occur as we bottom out in the teens.

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FRIDAY MORNING (1/14)
A winter storm watch is in effect for the entire region Sunday. The onset of wintry weather will begin overnight Saturday. Cold air will already be in place at the onset of this event which means precip will start as snow across much of the region. Warmer air aloft nudges near the I-85 corridor near daybreak Sunday. This speeds up the time of this wintry mix by a few hours and makes it the main focus for the region. Temps will remain near freezing at the surface meaning a change over to sleet and even freezing rain. This line will lift north likely bringing icy conditions even into the I-40 corridor by noon. This also means we will have more ice than snow accumulation across the region – especially near and south of I-85. As this low heads toward the northeast late Sunday, we could see another changeover briefly to snow west of I-77 as areas south and east of I-85 begins to dry out. The mountains will likely see snow through midday Monday as drier air settles into the rest of the region. Impacts will be felt well beyond Sunday and Monday with travel issues and power outages a concern for the entire region under the weight of snow and ice.
WHAT WE KNOW
Winter Storm will impact the entire region Sunday
TIMING After midnight Sunday through Monday.
Snow could linger through midday Monday for the Mountains
WHAT/ HOW MUCH Wintry Mix
Mountains: 8-12″ of snow
Foothills to I-40: 6-8″ of snow, glaze of ice
I-40 to I-85: 1-4″ of snow, up to .50″ of ice
South of I-85: Up to 1″ of snow, .25 to .50″ of ice
WIND Gusts 30-40 mph
IMPACTS Widespread travel issues, downed  trees, power outages lasting days
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THURSDAY EVENING (01/13/2022)
A Winter Storm Watch goes in effect Saturday evening until Monday morning.
Winter Weather Alerts
The primary impact will be ice across the Piedmont. Ice totals will likely increase the farther south across the Piedmont you are. 0.25-0.50” of ice is what we are expected across the southern Piedmont. This will lead to downed trees, scattered to numerous power outages and of course treacherous travel. The exact totals all depend on the final track of the area of low pressure.
Ice Accumulation Impacts
TIMING: Overnight Saturday through Sunday.
PRECIP TYPE: This will vary region to region:
      – Mountains – Mainly snow
– Foothills – Snow with a mix
– Piedmont – Mixed. Something like snow, sleet, freezing rain, snow.
– South of I-85 will see a mix, but with rain added in as well.
WIND: Gusts 30-40 mph. Up to 50 across the mountains.
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THURSDAY MORNING (01/13/2022)
Models are lining up a little better today meaning the forecast is on track to bring a sampler platter of winter weather to the region. However, there is still slight variability in the track of this low which will determine where the sleet/freezing rain sets up. The onset of wintry weather will begin overnight Saturday. Cold air will already be in place at the onset of this event which means precip will start as snow across much of the region. Warmer air aloft nudges near the I-85 corridor by mid to late morning. Temps will remain near freezing at the surface meaning a change over to sleet and even freezing rain. This line will lift north likely bringing icy conditions even into the I-40 corridor. This also means we will have more ice than snow accumulation across the region – especially near and south of I85. As this low heads toward the northeast late Sunday, we could see another changeover briefly to snow west of I-77 as areas south and east of I-85 begin to dry out. The mountains will likely see snow through midday Monday as drier air settles into the rest of the region. Impacts will be felt well beyond Sunday and Monday with travel issues and power outages a concern for the entire region under the weight of snow and ice.
WHAT WE KNOW
Winter Storm is LIKELY Sunday for the region.
TIMING Overnight Saturday through Sunday.
Snow could linger through midday Monday for the Mountains
DURATION 24-36 hrs
PRECIP TYPE Wintry Mix
Mountains: Mainly Snow
Foothills: Mainly Snow, Brief Wintry Mix
More Uncertain Depending on Track of Low:

I-40 to I-85: Snow to start, changing to sleet/freezing rain by mid-morning Sun

South of I-85: Mainly Rain/Wintry Mix

WIND Gusts 30-40 mph

IMPACTS Widespread travel issues, power outages lasting days

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WEDNESDAY EVENING (01/12/2022)

This update remains unchanged from the Wednesday morning update. The system we are watching this weekend is roughly 2,500 miles away and about to enter the Pacific Northwest. Both the long range models are consistently hinting at warm air aloft (5,000 feet in the air) which will lead to a wintry mix across the Charlotte area – snow, freezing rain, sleet and rain. Exactly what locations see what in terms of precipitation type depends on the exact track of the system.

WHAT WE KNOW:

  • We will see a winter storm this weekend
  • Confidence is growing the Carolinas will see a wintry mix – sleet, freezing rain and snow
  • This is looking more and more like a mainly Sunday event

STILL AT QUESTION:

  • Timing of each precipitation type
  • Precipitation totals

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WEDNESDAY MORNING (01/12/2022)

Confidence is growing in widespread wintry weather this weekend across the southeast.
Ecmwf Global 9km Long Range
The timing of this system is lining up with precip beginning after midnight Sunday morning. Trends have slowed this system down as well which means a prolonged event through the day Sunday. And models have flipped from 24 hours ago. This wave that will be the driving force for this winter weather is currently in the Pacific – more than 3000 miles away. This is why this forecast will need to be fine-tuned over the next few days and not all is clear yet. Outside of timing, this will likely be a strong storm with plenty of moisture to feed off of and cold air already in place at the surface. Depending on the track of this disturbance as it digs through the south and into the Carolinas, will define what and how much we see. If the track rides to the north and west expect an extended period of warmer air above the surface – meaning more of a wintry mix of freezing rain, snow, and sleet for the Piedmont with limited snow totals and higher ice accumulation. If the track is more south and east expect more of an accumulation of snow and a shorter window for that wintry mix. Totals will be a bit more defined Thursday and each day leading to the event. As of now, expect impacts to extend well beyond the wrap of wintry weather into the start of the next work week.
WHAT WE KNOW
Confidence is growing in a strong winter storm Sunday.
> TIMING
Overnight Saturday through Sunday
Slower Moving

> WHAT WE’LL SEE

Snow, Sleet, Freezing Rain

> TOTALS

Not Clearly Defined – Thursday Update for Totals

> IMPACTS

Well Beyond the End of Wintry Weather

– Power Outages

– Downed Trees

– Slippery Roads

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OUT DATED – TUESDAY EVENING (01/11/2022) – OUT DATED

A winter storm is looking more likely across the Carolinas this weekend.

The latest GFS and European models show a mix precipitation type across the WCCB Charlotte area due to what is called a warm nose.

Science Explanation – Due to the position of the area of low pressure, it is possible warm air mixes in aloft. The warm nose means warmer air is in the mid-levels allowing snow to fully melt or partially melt as it falls through that layer in the atmosphere. Depending on how deep the warm nose layer is (in any given scenario) will depend on whether the precipitation falls as sleet or freezing rain.

The guidance looks like the wintry precipitation is slowing down and hinting more toward a Sunday event. However, we need to continue to watch trends as this is not etched in stone.

This storm system is still over the Pacific Ocean roughly 3,400 miles away meaning far too soon for specifics.

WHAT WE KNOW: 

  • The overall confidence of Charlotte seeing wintry precipitation is growing

STILL AT QUESTION:

  • Anything specific – timing, precipitation type and amounts

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OUT DATED – MONDAY EVENING (01/10/2022) – OUT DATED

A storm system will track across the Carolinas Saturday into Sunday and bring the potential for winter precipitation.

Computer models are not in agreement with this storm system still being more than 5 days out. When it comes to winter weather forecasting, forecast details such as amounts, location and timing are best forecast 1-3 days out.

WHAT WE KNOW:

  • There is a chance for snow. As of Monday evening the chance is low, but it is not zero.

The WCCB Charlotte weather team will continue to watch model trends over the next couple of days. Once models are in better agreement, we will know more. Stay tuned!