A storm system is moving our way and is poised to bring some major local impacts. We will first face the threat of freezing rain (ice) and sleet, then heavy rain, then a little snow to wrap things up. Let's time if out…
Tonight: Showers will start to slowly push in. We will see a little light rain through midnight, then we'll see that rain turn to sleet and freezing rain late night. In the mountains, freezing rain could begin by midnight/1am, and in the Upstate we could see brief freezing rain toward 3-4am. A Freezing Rain advisory is out for the Upstate mountains and portions of western NC (see image), and this means that light ice accumulations will be possible (under a tenth of an inch most likely). An Ice Storm Warning is in effect for Henderson, Polk, McDowell, Rutherford, Yancey and Mitchell counties, and that's where we could see 0.25" of ice or more.
Here's what different ice accumulations typically cause:
Up to 0.1": Slick bridges/overpasses, a glaze on cars, trees, decks, and other raised surfaces. Power outages are possible, but not likely.
Near 0.25": Bridges slick, along with secondary roads. Ice starts weighing down tree limbs and power lines, so power outages become more likely.
Half inch or more: CRIPPLING ICE STORM. THIS IS NOT expected.
Freezing rain would last through about 8am, then transition to all heavy rain. We could see 3-4 inches of rain between mid-morning and late afternoon on Tuesday! We should get a break from the rain by Tuesday night, but some localized flooding could occur by late day.
A few showers will stick around Tuesday night, but the torrential downpours will be over. By Wednesday morning the cold air will arrive, and what little moisture is left could become snow for our area! Most of the snow will fall in western NC, but a few quick snow showers will be possible midday Wednesday in the Upstate. No issues expected from the snow in the Upstate, while near the TN border we could get slick roads by late Wednesday from accumulating snow.
So, take home message… Patchy ice will be possible in the Upstate Tuesday morning, so you'll want to drive with extra caution. The best chance of finding any upstate ice will be in the mountains of Greenville, Pickens and Oconee counties. Widespread icy conditions may occur in the mountains, with Henderson, Polk and Rutherford counties looking at the greatest threat (along with McDowell, Yancey and Mitchell to a slightly lesser extent). Once the freezing rain ends, we'll want to remain on-guard for flooding and blinding rain when on the roads.
On Monday night Haywood County had reports of light sleet and Madison County reported ice falling.