Wintry Weather In ENC

Written by on January 12, 2015 in Winter Weather

After rainy conditions for most of the day with many areas seeing significant rainfall totals for the day. As of Monday evening, my location (Greenville, NC) has received 2.99″ of rain. The rain is beginning to move away from the area as inland sections are beginning to dry out and the coast will be seeing the end of the rain over the next couple of hours.

The first half of Tuesday will remain relatively uneventful with only a few scattered showers in the area. Temperatures will begin to drop as high pressure builds over the northeastern states setting up a cold air damming situation. Low pressure will develop offshore and track northeastward during the day and into the evening. This low pressure is forecast to bring moisture inland over North and South Carolina Tuesday evening and continuing into Wednesday. With surface temperatures possibly below freezing, frozen precipitation is possible during that time. The low will also bring a warm temperatures above 3,000 ft and extend upwards to around 8,000 ft.

Forecast sounding for Greenville, NC (KPGV) for Wednesday morning.

Forecast sounding for Greenville, NC (KPGV) for Wednesday morning.

This type of vertical profile points to freezing rain as the precipitation type for this time frame. The next concern is: who will see freezing rain?

The track of the low, strength of the high pressure, and the start of the cold air advection will be the deciding factor in this case. If the low tracks further offshore, moisture inland would be reduced and precipitation type becomes irrelevant if no moisture exists.┬áIf the high doesn’t filter in enough cold air in advance, temperatures closer to the coast will be above freezing leaving those areas with rain only. The forecast lows will be around 30 Tuesday night for inland sections and mid to upper 30s along the coast. The forecast highs for Wednesday will be near 40 inland.

The models have been trending colder over the past couple of runs but still some uncertainty exist and the forecast could be shifted a great deal. Right now it appears that those with the best chance of seeing frozen precipitation at some point Tuesday night will be those west of highway 17. The chance increase even more the closer to I95 you are.

Map depicting the areas that MIGHT see frozen precipitation at some point Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.

Map depicting the areas that MIGHT see frozen precipitation at some point Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.

Fortunately low precipitation is forecast with this system with areas seeing less than 0.05″ of ice accumulations. Highest amounts will be along I95 where the possibility exist for 0.05″ if this forecast verifies. Slight shifting in the forecast track of the low will also have a huge impact on that possibility so further observation will be needed.

SREF probability of freezing rain near 90% over ENC.

SREF probability of freezing rain near 90% over ENC. Near 0% east of highway 17.

18Z NAM forecast for Tuesday night.

18Z NAM forecast for Tuesday night.

Northerly winds will bring freezing temperatures to ENC on Tuesday.

Northerly winds will bring freezing temperatures to ENC on Tuesday.

Southerly flow at 850 mb will bring above freezing temperatures over ENC leading to ptype being freezing rain.

Southerly flow at 850 mb will bring above freezing temperatures over ENC leading to ptype being freezing rain.

Giving the timing, caution is needed during Wednesday’s morning commute.

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