Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Wintry Mix in the Forecast...

"Wintry mix"..... I uttered those words for the first time this season today. It appears our rainy day on Thursday could start with a mix of snow, sleet, and some freezing rain. The timing of the precipitation and the early morning temperature is the key to exactly what type of weather we will receive. Unfortunately, this may all arrive right around the rush hour Thursday morning.

The first ingredient in the "wintry mix" recipe is an area of high pressure that will build across the southeast today and move just northeast of our area Wednesday afternoon. The high will draw cool, dry air into the lower levels of the atmosphere across our region Wednesday evening. That should allow temperatures to drop near or just below freezing early Thursday morning.

The other ingredient is the moisture. That will be provided by an area of low pressure that will develop today and tomorrow just off the Gulf coast. The low will track toward the Carolina coast late Wednesday and early Thursday spreading precipitation into North Carolina before daybreak Thursday.

The precipitation will begin first in western North Carolina and toward the Charlotte area. The precipitation will then advance across the piedmont, Sandhills, and Triangle. It appears the precipitation will begin as snow mixing pretty quickly with sleet and some freezing rain.

Eventually the wintry mix will changeover to all rain across our area through the day Thursday. The changeover should happen pretty quickly around Fayetteville and to the south. There the wintry mix should be short lived. It may take to mid-morning for the changeover in the Triangle. On the west side of the Triangle, it may take to late morning. The Triad area of the Piedmont around Greensboro will likely see the longest period of the wintry weather with the changeover to all rain not coming until midday or early afternoon.

That's the latest forecast for now, but keep in mind a lot can change between now and Thursday morning especially when it comes to winter weather in North Carolina. If the timing of the precipitation changes or the temperature forecast changes by a degree or two, the entire forecast could dramatically change. We'll continue to follow the latest weather data and fine tune our forecasts as needed. Stay tuned to Weather on the Ones...