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Wintry Mix Expected Across Carolinas Saturday Night / Sunday Morning

A wintry mix is expected across the Carolinas starting Saturday Night and Sunday Morning; however, there is still higher than normal uncertainty due to changes in the track of the low pressure.

Models are indicating an area of low pressure will move across the central and eastern United States on Saturday and Sunday; however, the track has shifted slightly north. This is allowing for warmer air to move in at the surface and aloft, which complicates the forecast greatly.

Right now, all global models agree the moisture moves into the mountains near sunset Saturday and spreads eastward through the overnight hours into Sunday morning. Models also show a wintry mix from roughly I-85 northward with temperatures aloft warming above freezing and changing the snow to sleet and freezing rain quickly.

By Sunday morning, most models indicate a push of warm air at the surface helping to change the sleet and freezing rain to a plain cold rain for nearly everyone, but areas along I-40 may remain sleet and freezing rain longer due to the strength of the wedge.

The images below are from the NAM and the GFS computer model. The NAM has colder surface temperatures than the GFS due to a slightly stronger wedge, and this results in the wintry mix reaching a little further south than the GFS. The GFS solution is currently favored at the moment.

18z GFS Computer Model Simulated Radar
18z NAM Computer Model Simulated Radar

The National Weather Service has issued expected accumulation maps for this system. Outside the mountains, snow and sleet accumulations are expected to be limited to areas north of I-85 and are expected to be less than one inch. Mountain locations may see 1-3 inches of snow and sleet.

NWS GSP Forecast Snow Accumulation

Freezing rain accumulation is also expected through Sunday Morning. Most areas are expected to see less than a quarter of an inch of ice accretion from this system.

NWS GSP Ice Accumulation

As you can see, the trend over the past day has been towards lower accumulations of snow and higher accumulations of ice. The good news is most models show the system having less than a half of an inch of precipitation which should help keep ice accumulations low. Also temperatures are expected to rise above freezing Sunday, which would help melt any ice that is able to accumulate on trees and power lines.

I am continuing to monitor the situation and will keep you updated with the latest information.

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