Note: Click/tap on each graphic to enlarge.
CHANGE is the theme of my forecast blog tonight, as we are on the cusp of the winter season... and maybe even the chance for some snowflakes?
Tuesday will be a very unseasonably warm day as a warm front will move through early, bringing the chance for some showers. Instability will keep a mix of clouds and sunshine on a strong southerly flow, and the chance for some isolated to widely scattered showers will persist throughout the day, enough that I'm giving us a yellow-light in the outdoor activity column on my stoplights (see below).
A strong cold front sweeps through the region late Tuesday night, clearing the coast Wednesday morning. Showers will accompany this frontal passage.
Low pressure is expected to organize on the stalled front by the end of the week and bring a cold rain to the region.
^^ Southerly flow ahead of a strong cold front will bring unseasonably warm temperatures for your Tuesday. Even with a mix of clouds and sunshine, we'll see highs in the upper 60s to lower 70s across the region, with some mid 70s possible in typically warmer locations or areas that pick up more sunshine. This will be the last day with 70-degree temperatures, possibly through the end of the calendar year.
^^ By Wednesday afternoon the frontal boundary is expected to be off the coast, and most of the precipitation should go with it. I'm doubtful that we'll see much sunshine on Wednesday, but whatever rain we get should be widely scattered. It will be MARKEDLY colder with highs only in the upper 50s.
^^ As our story plays forward into Thursday, a secondary shortwave / frontal boundary will sweep across the Carolinas and "catch up" to the first front off the coast. Low pressure will develop somewhere along this front and bring cold rain to the region much of Thursday and Friday. This model might be a bit underdone with regards to the rainfall.
There has been some social media talk recently about snow potential for the Carolinas, particularly Friday. Models have waffled back and forth with regard to a frozen precipitation potential but the chances, in my opinion, are very, very slim, and this is for a couple of reasons.
1. There is no strong Arctic high pressure to our northwest.
2. Even if there were a strong Arctic high, there is virtually zero snow pack to our north. A strong high over a snowpack would funnel particularly cold air southward. This isn't going to happen.
3. Cold air will "chase" the precipitation Friday. This almost never leads to accumulating snow. That's not to say some snowflakes won't occur, but the chances for an accumulating snowfall are very slim.
Meteorologist Tim Buckley has a neat post on his FB page that discusses what it takes to get snow in North Carolina:
Here are a couple of GFS model soundings for Friday afternoon, one for Whiteville and one for Fayetteville. Areas such as Elizabethtown, Conway, Tabor City will be similar to Whiteville. Areas such as Rockingham, Laurinburg, and Lumberton will be similar to Fayetteville.
First up... Whiteville:
This sounding shows temperature (red line) and dewpoint (green line) below freezing through the entire atmospheric column... except the last few hundred feet (very bottom of the image). Once those readings poke above freezing, that's it... snowflakes melt and we get cold rain. At the time of this sounding (1 pm Friday), it's cloudy and/or raining and 41 degrees at Whiteville.
This sounding for Fayetteville is also a no-go for snow, given the fact that there's a dry area from about 3 kilometers down to 1 kilometer above the surface. Dry air isn't exactly something that promotes precipitation, but even if that dry layer weren't there, the temperature for the final few hundred feet to the surface rises above freezing... any precipitation that falls will be liquid.
Ok.... here's my official forecast for southeast NC and northeast SC.
TONIGHT: Variably cloudy skies with areas of fog after midnight. We'll see mild temperatures with lows around 50.
TUESDAY: Mostly cloudy skies and unseasonably warm. Isolated to widely scattered showers possible. Highs in the lower 70s.
TUESDAY NIGHT: Showers becoming likely after midnight. Breezy and mild with lows in the lower to middle 50s.
WEDNESDAY: Nearly steady temperatures with cloudy skies. Showers in the morning... becoming more widely scattered late morning through the afternoon.
EXTENDED: Rain likely Thursday, Thursday night, and Friday, possibly lingering into early Friday night. It will be raw and cold with highs around 50 and lows in the mid 30s. While temperatures look close to freezing, the threat for frozen precip is so low it's not worth mentioning "officially" ... but of course, I'll be keeping an eye on that.
The cold weather is here to stay for the foreseeable future as well. The Climate Prediction Center has much of the eastern portion of the country with a high probability of temperatures being below seasonal normal values. I believe this trend will continue through the remainder of the calendar year... and with the pattern that is taking shape, I can't completely rule out that SOMEone in the Carolinas won't see some snow...
Take care and THANK YOU for viewing!