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The prospects for a winter storm impacting the entire area are increasing for Friday. There are still large questions of the amounts of precipitation that will fall but a few things are becoming clearer today. Number one being this will likely be an all winter precipitation event and likely for a large part of our area. The air is plenty cold enough and dry enough to keep everything either snow/sleet or freezing rain. We aren’t looking at much of any rain at all right now.
It’s been 4 days now since what many feel was a disappointing winter storm around the Charlotte area. I won’t lie even though it never was going to be a big storm for Charlotte and points South.
Last winter was our second straight winter with well below temperatures and slightly above average snowfall in the Charlotte region. We had 6.1” of snow and the temperatures were the coldest since the late 1970s. This was highlighted by the first white Christmas in charlotte in 63 years.
With cold and dry air in place over the Carolinas and a strong storm system developing to our southwest. The potential is there that late tonight and early Friday we will see the first batch of moisture start out as sleet or freezing rain. This likely will not last long as warm air aloft will overcome this cold dry air mass at the surface. This will change things back to rain during the day Friday for the piedmont and the Charlotte area. In the mountains and foothills it’s a different story, let me show you why.
The cold air is in place thanks to the mid west blizzard, it left behind this huge area of arctic air. This arctic air is center over Oklahoma but with the clockwise flow around the high we have seen this arctic air ooze into the Carolinas. North and northeast winds today have been advecting or transporting this cold dry air mass into the region since late last night.
While all this cold air had been moving in a low pressure system and a strong subtropical jetstream have been throwing moisture north and east over this cold air mass. There are already winter storm warnings and winter weather advisories for pats of coastal Texas and deep into southern Louisiana today.
Overall I don’t expect this to be a major problem in and around Charlotte unless the moisture starts to make it to the ground early tonight. That would give us several hours of below freezing temperatures and a cold ground to cause some problems. I do worry about areas here along the Blue Ridge which might seen a prolonged period of freezing rain and I bet we see a Freezing Rain advisory issued later tonight.