This is why I don’t want people to get caught up in one type of threats like snow or sleet. We could see everything from rain to ice. The typical Carolina winter storm usually has a little bit of everything. The ice potential is honestly becoming my biggest concern for the Piedmont. In the mountains and foothills, it could be both heavy snow and ice.
As always small details like this are really hard to nail down, but I’m getting a much better idea of what we might see. The problem lies in that a subtle change of just 0.01° at the surface or just above of the surface. Could mean the difference between snow, sleet, ice or rain. Throw in the fact that that subtle change over just a few miles north or south has HUGE implications on what we will see.
The soundings or profiles of the atmosphere show that cold, dry air is going to be at least initially trapped east of the mountains. The NAM is very aggressive with the ice. It normally has a bias for too much ice, rain or snow, but does a good job of temperature profiles. I see at least a period of freezing rain late Thursday and early Friday before it changes to rain.
Mountain and foothills:
This is an area where we ould see an even bigger impact of snow and sleet with ice on top. The area north and west of I-40 will see the highest risk for significant snow with this storm. The amounts are still uncertain, but at this point, it will be enough to cause an impact.
We are not out of the wood for an impactful winter storm. The mountains and foothills could really see a mess with heavy snow and sleet with ice on top. Those areas and with the Piedmont ice makes this storm still a very large threat!