First Alert: Breaking down the timing of potential winter weathe - | WBTV Charlotte

First Alert: Breaking down the timing of potential winter weather

(WBTV) -

As we began talking about Wednesday evening with our regional first alert day issued for the mountains and foothills, we have a late-season winter storm on our hands set to make an arrival smack in the middle of the weekend. 

While certain aspects of the forecast remain unchanged since Wednesday. Our highest confidence for significant accumulations remains in the mountains. Other aspects are becoming a little clearer now that we are getting closer to the event.

We'll start with the timing, which looks to be mainly overnight Saturday into Sunday morning. 

So even though the First Alert Day is for Sunday, it's really just to cover the very early morning hours. In fact, most all of the snow that does fall will be on the ground by the time the sun comes up, with the time period really being between about midnight and sunrise.

The greater uncertainty still appears to be for the Charlotte area, but at this point the confidence is at least a little higher than this time yesterday that we will see some snow make it down to the ground early on Sunday morning, but whether or not it sticks and how much is still a huge question mark. 

Obviously, we are quite warm leading up to this event, so ground temperatures are mild, and the snow would have to fall very rapidly to accumulate much. So even if there as a quick burst of wet snow early in the morning, it will have a very hard time sticking, especially to roads.

Other factors include the cold air and moisture supply. As almost always seems to be the case, the rain/snow line will line up somewhere right over the Charlotte area. 

At this point almost all of our computer model guidance is in pretty good agreement that snow at least makes it down as far south as the city. But as we saw with our storm in January, if our models are off by 20 or 30 miles that can shift things in a big way. 

Lastly, there are still some differences in the amount of available moisture supply for the Piedmont. So- assuming we have factor 1 in place (the cold air), this second factor would also impact potential amounts assuming all of that available liquid did fall as snow.

So the bottom line: Confidence is high on an accumulating snow for the mountains and foothills, but far less certain for the Piedmont and Upstate. And yes, even though it is early March and we've been in the 70s all week, this storm does bear close watching for a potential inch or two of light snow for areas outside of the mountains too! Stay tuned.

- Meteorologists Lyndsay Tapases and Eric Thomas

Copyright 2017 WBTV. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly