Freezing rain from northeast Georgia through Virginia
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.