Rainfall is currently beginning to move into Western North Carolina, and that will persist throughout the day today.. and into tomorrow afternoon. You can track this precipitation with the live interactive radar. Upper level temperatures will begin to crash Friday morning, and as precipitation exits, higher elevation locations will begin to switch to snow. Below you can see the Nam 3km precipitation depiction late Friday night.
Will Northwest Flow Snow Make It To Asheville?
It is very possible that we see snow showers push into the French Broad River Valley, and even into Downtown Asheville late Friday night or early Saturday morning. Upper level winds will be very gusty as the surface low strengthens and pressure gradient force kicks in. That will propel some of those snowflakes that are falling on the NC/TN border, into the valleys below. Its hard to say exactly when the snow will push into Asheville, but with models showing winds gusting to 40mph at the Asheville Airport (see below), it will be hard for snow showers to stay contained at the border.
Winds Could Cause Damage Friday Night
As the low pressure exits the area, it rapidly strengthens, and the atmosphere must compensate for that. Therefore, winds will rush towards the deepening low pressure in an attempt to balance. These winds will howl through the mountains of Western North Carolina Friday and into Saturday, and could cause some damage.. especially in the higher elevations. It would be wise to secure outdoor Christmas decorations later today if possible, and also bring in any other outdoor accessories you may have on your porch that could blow away.
How Much Snow Is Expected?
I am only expected a dusting or so around Asheville proper.. but within 15 miles of the NC/TN border I believe 1”-3” of snow will be possible below 3500’, and 3”-6”+ will be possible above 3500’. Below you can see the snowfall map that the most recent Nam 3km produced. As you can see some locations like Clingman’s Dome & Roan Mountain really rake in the precipitation. I wouldn’t be surprised to see one of these locations record over 1’ of snow following this northwest flow event.
Travel Friday Night-Saturday Morning
Please use caution if you are heading towards the NC/TN border on Friday or Saturday morning. It is uncertain as to exactly when snow will begin to fall on I-40(Through Gorge) & I-26 (Newfound Gap), but at some point in time on Friday it will happen. DOT crews will do their best to keep roadways clear, but please use caution, and be patient as you move through the area. By Saturday afternoon, things should be settling down, and snowfall should be tapering off. Around Asheville, I expect less travel problems.. but they cannot be ruled out. Even a dusting of snow can make roadways slick around town.. so please be mindful if you are out late Friday night. Check back soon for another update as short range models continue to refine data, and provide a clearer picture as to how this backside moisture will unfold.