First Alert: Rain, sleet and snow in the forecast

WBTV Thursday morning weather forecast

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A Winter Weather Advisory is out for the entire WBTV area today as a storm approaches from the west.

Here’s how it will all unfold. Daybreak readings are at or below freezing in the mountains and so it’ll be snow from start to finish up that way. For the rest of us, we’re above freezing this morning and so we’ll start with rain and then gradually transition to a wintry mix.

As we move deeper into the morning and afternoon and the precipitation picks up in intensity, temperatures will fall into the 30s – but staying above freezing - changing the rain over to a sleet-snow mix by late afternoon.

The atmosphere aloft is VERY cold giving us high confidence snowfall will make the trip down to the surface.

But actual surface air temperatures are unlikely to fall below freezing and the ground temperatures are still quite warm from recent readings in the mild 60s. Also, we don’t have any strong storm centers moving through the region either at the surface or associated with the jet stream aloft, so that makes the snowfall less likely to overcome and overwhelm the lingering warm conditions near the ground.

FIRST ALERT: Winter Weather Advisory for the WBTV area, here's a breakdown of what to expect today..

FIRST ALERT: Winter Weather Advisory for the WBTV area, here's a breakdown of what to expect today 🌨️ »

Posted by WBTV News on Thursday, February 20, 2020

With all that said, we have enough confidence that there will be enough sleet and snow that most of us see a sloppy inch accumulating on non-road surfaces around Charlotte. Obviously, the farther south one goes, the less likely you are to get much more than a coating on the grass.

Closer to the I-40 corridor, deeper into the colder air, an inch or two is more likely, while deep into the cold air, the mountains stand the best chance to receive more than a couple of inches of snow. Streets and sidewalks will likely melt more of the snow due to the retention of the recent heat.

Nevertheless, any time sleet or snow is landing on the ground, naturally, slick spots can and will develop. So be careful moving around late this afternoon and evening, and that’s especially so Thursday night and Friday morning as all neighborhoods fall in the frigid 20s.

Looking beyond the frigid start, Friday will bring more sunshine along with a chilly breeze and highs only getting back to the low 40s, while the weekend appears to feature a good deal of sunshine with afternoon readings rebounding into the seasonal 50s.

Stay updated on severe weather in your area by downloading WBTV’s First Alert Weather App.

- Meteorologist Al Conklin

Copyright 2020 WBTV. All rights reserved.