CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - An active storm track continues across the Southeastern United States in the near term and it may produce two opportunities for snowfall around Charlotte within the next three days.
The first chance comes overnight tonight into Tuesday morning as a very weak disturbance may create some flurries or light patchy snow toward daybreak. I can't rule out some areas seeing a light dusting of snow on the ground as folks head out the door, but at this point I'm not anticipating travel issues unless you live in the mountains. The Carolina High Country may see one to two inches of snow overnight.
Our next chance for snow arrives Wednesday night. There is good agreement among our weather models which are depicting a storm center traveling along the Florida panhandle Wednesday evening, exiting the US East Coast around Savannah overnight, and drifting northeastward away from the SC coast Thursday morning.
The storm system is not particularly strong, but loaded with moisture as it takes advantage of the Gulf and the Atlantic. Typically though, a storm of this strength, on this track will not produce much around Charlotte nor points north and west of us. But an upper level disturbance rolling into NC may try and pull some of that moisture back into our region. This is where our various models diverge and must be dealt with very carefully.
See attached. The first model (WRF-ARW) shows absolutely nothing reaching into our viewing area overnight Wednesday. This is plausible based on the storm's track. The second model however (NAM 20km) shows a significant snowfall during the same time period, likely reacting to the upper level rotational energy (see: Upper Level Chart) arriving overnight. The third model (Global Forecast System - GFS) takes the middle ground and shows the snowfall barely reaching into the Charlotte area. Another good model, the European (ECMWF - not shown) is also bullish on accumulating snow here Wednesday night into early Thursday morning.
The solutions range from no snow at all to six inches or more. My past experience tells me we will wind up on the lower end of the precipitation and final snow totals. But I simply can't rule anything in or out at this point. The NAM did a horrible job on this past weekend's forecast which we fortunately caught in time and didn't use as a basis for our forecast. We remain particularly cautious with this model. The GFS and the WRF have better track records and are downplaying the snow right now, but the European is also a highly respected model, and is pulling four to six inches of snow into this area Thursday morning.