Low pressure sit along the Florida panhandle today, and as it moves north toward the Upstate, a cold, heavy rain is expected in the amount of 2-3" before the day is done. Isolated flooding in low-lying areas is possible, especially late this afternoon. We're staying in the "warm sector" of the storm now, so temperatures between now and midnight remain above freezing and cause no more concern for icy roads. Late overnight the low will pull north of us, leaving a set of colder air, and a secondary cold front will push through from west to east. This means, shortly after midnight the freezing temperatures return to the mountains potentially bringing a few hours of sleet, and then a changeover to snow before the morning commute. Upstate should remain with scattered rain showers through 5am.
A Winter Storm Watch is in effect from midnight through noon Wednesday for Graham, Swain, Haywood, Madison, Yancey and Mitchell counties, as the snow could accumulate to around 3-4" by mid-morning. Elsewhere in Western NC, we are expecting a changeover from rain to mix to snow, but accumulations will be limited to around one inch or less, and decrease to nothing on the ground near the SC border. The cold air arrives Upstate around the morning commute, giving the few lingering rain showers a chance to changeover to snow. However, even if we see a few snow showers, we're not looking at travel issues or accumulations. The NWS picture shown is a little more aggressive with snow totals than I am right now, but either way, it gives a good picture of WHERE we believe snow will fall and accumulate, even if our total amounts are slightly lower. Cold air remains in place all day Wednesday, so areas seeing mix and snow could stay slick all through the busiest travel day of the year.
(photo courtesy of the National Weather Service)