A complex forecast for parts of the Southeast & Mid-Atlantic tonight into Friday. A surface high that has been in place is beginning to move out of the region. The counter-clockwise flow around the high, as well as an approaching upper-level shortwave, will allow a rather quick return of Gulf moisture into the Southeast tonight and into the Mid-Atlantic tonight into Friday.
This moisture, paired with lift, will set the stage for precipitation to breakout. This is where the forecast gets interesting, a wedge of cold air will still be in place across parts of the Southeast. This will make precipitation types a tad tricky for far northeastern Georgia, northern parts of upstate South Carolina and North Carolina (southern Appalachians) tonight into early Friday morning. A brief window, an hour, of sleet is possible before a light freezing rain occurs for a few hours.
The freezing rain threat will shift north Friday morning into the southern Virginia as the precipitation shield advances north in response to a shortwave digging to the west. This will allow a surface low to develop, which will continue to spread moisture into the Southeast & Mid-Atlantic. Luckily, temperatures will begin to warm late-Friday morning leading to a changeover to rain for northeast Georgia, update South Carolina & most of North Carolina. The surface low will track northeast into the Northeast Friday night into Saturday causing a wet forecast for the Northeast over the weekend.
Generally, most areas will see less than 0.10″ of ice, which is still enough to cause travel issues, but a few areas will pickup close to 0.25″. Whichever areas receive 0.25″, there could be icing issues on power lines & trees that may lead to a few power outages. The areas with the greatest chance of receiving 0.10-0.25″ are from western North Carolina north into western Virginia. Northeast Georgia & upstate South Carolina should see very minimal accumulations due to marginal surface temperatures and a short duration of freezing precipitation. Light snow accumulations are possible in the higher terrain of North Carolina & West Virginia. Due to the ice accumulation potential, Winter Weather Advisories are in place from North Carolina extending north through Virginia.
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!