We are keeping an eye on the upcoming work week for the Southeast for the potential of wintry weather. The first chance for wintry precipitation begins Tuesday night into early Wednesday for parts of the Carolinas and northeast Georgia. A weak ridge will build eastward (as a trough moves into the Plains), allowing moisture to stream into the region late-Tuesday. At this time, the Arctic air currently in place, will have begun to modify, but surface temperatures will still remain cold. As the moisture begins to move into this region, it is possible drizzle or light rain will develop Tuesday night. The low-level temperatures *could be cold enough for light freezing rain to fall Tuesday night into early Wednesday. Forecast soundings for this timeframe show wet-bulbing will occur possibly allowing for light freezing rain in the highlighted areas (see Fig. 1). As moisture continues to move into the region, temperatures will rise above freezing by late-Wednesday morning. This will minimize accumulations and allow the freezing rain to transition to all rain.
The next opportunity for wintry precipitation arrives late Wednesday into Thursday. The aforementioned trough will continue eastward, sending a cold front into the Southeast. Numerical guidance has trended towards the trough becoming neutrally tilted as it moves east of the Mississippi Delta, which would allow surface temperatures to fall rapidly behind the front. It is possible lingering moisture will be present behind the cold front, which could allow a 2-4 hour window for rain to mix with or change to light snow (see Fig. 2). At this time, it does not appear significant accumulations are likely. We will have to keep a close eye on this event as we get closer to Wednesday night and Thursday. A slower departure of moisture could allow for more meaningful snowfall to occur.
Another upper-level feature could aid in wintry precipitation as we head into the weekend for the Southeast but this is too far out and confidence is low. Keep checking back for updates.
Christopher Nunley is Meteorologist on Firsthand Weather, Lecturer in the Department of Geosciences at Mississippi State University (MSU), and a PhD Candidate (Earth and Atmospheric Sciences) at MSU. He earned his M.S. in Applied Meteorology at MSU, was an Assistant Cross Country Coach and taught at the University of North Texas, and was a Broadcast Meteorologist at KTEN-TV (just north of Dallas, Texas). Christopher’s main focus lies within teaching and inspiring prospective meteorology students, atmospheric research to further our understanding of atmospheric processes, and forecasting and analyzing extreme weather events to help save lives!