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Winter Storm Begins to Take Shape and Aims Towards Carolinas (Thursday, Dec. 6 Evening Update)

Our winter storm is moving onshore along the coast of California and will begin moving eastward over the next few days. I am still expecting a strong storm with heavy snow, sleet, freezing rain, and rain for the Carolinas.

Right now, I am still trying to nail down the exact track of the system. The track of the system is everything. If the storm tracks 50 miles north and west, then the best snow will shift north and west, and the same is true if the storm tracks 50 miles south and east.

Models continue to be in general agreement that the storm will move along the Gulf of Mexico and then northeastward towards the Carolina coast. The upper level disturbance moves across the Carolinas.

Snow is expected to develop Saturday Evening across western NC and spread eastward through the morning hours. The system is expected to last through Monday afternoon before pulling away Monday night.

The system will be bringing plenty of moisture, with most areas receiving 1-2 inches of precipitation. This means areas that remain all snow may receiving over a foot of snow from this system.

This storm track is ideal for wintry weather, especially north and west of I-85. Areas along and south of I-85 will struggle with a warm nose changing the snow to sleet and freezing rain and with surface temperatures near freezing. As you move further south and east, surface temperatures are expected to warm above freezing, changing the snow to rain.

The image below shows what I expect in your neighborhood as of Thursday evening. This forecast may change, so be sure to check with for the latest forecast.

A (Red): Mainly snow with sleet is expected in this area. Snow and sleet accumulations could be over a foot. This area is where the confidence is the highest.

B (Orange): Snow mixed with sleet and freezing rain is expected. Major accumulations of snow, sleet, and freezing rain expected, with some areas receiving over 8 inches of snow and sleet. This area should remain at or below freezing through the storm.

C (Green): Wintry mix with a sharp cut off in the southern mountains. Some areas could see up to a foot, with others in the lower elevations seeing light accumulations and cold rain.

D (Light Blue): Wintry mix may mix with a cold rain. Accumulations are dependent on the amount of cold air aloft and at the surface. I expect the cold rain/wintry mix line to set up in this zone or the dark blue zone.

E (Dark Blue): Wintry mix also in this area with cold rain. Accumulations are expected to remain minor as rain is expected to mix with snow and sleet. This area will also see just a cold rain at points.

F (Purple): This area is expected to remain mostly a cold rain. Snow and sleet will be possible in this zone, but accumulations will be limited due to the rain that is expected.

So, how much snow and sleet is expected to accumulate across the Carolinas? This is my first forecast map and I will make adjustments through Saturday morning. You can always check for the latest forecast.

The highest totals are  expected in the mountains and the eastern facing slopes of the Blue Ridge. As we move into the foothills and western piedmont, snow and sleet is expected to accumulate here as well. More sleet is expected as you move further from the mountains.

Moving into the I-85 corridor, especially Charlotte, lower snow and sleet accumulations are expected. Charlotte may see a cold rain at some points as surface temperatures hover near freezing.

As we move into I-95 towards Raleigh and Fayetteville, lower snow and sleet accumulations are expected due to above freezing surface temperatures.

Both maps are subject to change due to the changing nature of this storm system. I will continue to watch the system and will keep you updated with the latest trends in the model data. You can follow me on Twitter @wxjordan and like my Facebook page WxJordan for the latest information.

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