Wednesday, January 19, 2022 2:54 PM

Winter storm to slam parts of the Carolinas and Southeast

Christopher Nunley

Another winter storm will slam southern parts of the country late this week into the weekend as moisture overspreads a chilly, Arctic airmass across the Carolinas and parts of the Southeast.

Weather snapshot

  • A late-week Arctic cold front will blast through the Southeast
  • An approaching storm system will spread moisture into the cold air mass
  • Accumulating freezing rain, sleet, and snow is possible
  • Travel issues and power outages are possible Friday & Saturday

An Arctic cold front will move through the region Thursday. This cold front will deliver a fresh batch of very chilly, subfreezing air to the South & Southeast. As the cold air seeps into the region, this is when the first chance for a brief, light wintry mixture enters the forecast but this is not the main winter storm. Join the Firsthand Weather Supporter Group for this afternoon’s video forecast on this event.

Cold air rushing into the Southeast late week into the weekend

Areas of light wintry precipitation are possible tonight into Thursday from northern & central Arkansas into western and northern Tennessee, northern Mississippi, and northwestern Alabama. It appears this will be a wintry mix of sleet and freezing rain for most areas but northern Tennessee could see snow. Light, patchy freezing rain cannot be ruled out for northeastern Georgia, North Carolina, and Upstate South Carolina.

The main event arrives Friday into early Saturday as an upper-level system approaches from the Southern Plains. This upper air disturbance will spread lift of the region leading to the development of precipitation along with a surface area of low pressure developing along the coast of the Carolinas. This will pull moisture into the subfreezing air mass over the Carolinas and parts of the Southeast leading to a mixture of wintry precipitation. It should be noted: recent trends have shifted the main precipitation axis farther east which is depicted in the future radar below. Join the Firsthand Weather Supporter Group for this afternoon’s video forecast on this event.

Animated radar Thursday night through Saturday morning

It appears there will be a strong warm layer above the surface, which means many areas from eastern North Carolina, eastern South Carolina, and possibly eastern Georgia will see freezing rain extending all the way to the coast of the Carolinas. Farther inland into the Carolinas and northeastern Georgia, sleet, and snow are possible. This includes Upstate South Carolina and western & central North Carolina.

There are some questions about the depth of the warm layer above the surface, how far inland it will extend, the intensity and coverage of precipitation, along with how far inland it extends. With that said, accumulations do look likely for parts of the Carolinas with the favored areas being eastern & coastal South Carolina, and eastern, coastal, and central North Carolina.

A Winter Storm Watch has been issued for the eastern half of North Carolina and the northeastern quadrant of South Carolina from Thursday night through Saturday morning. Parts of this will likely get upgraded to a Winter Storm Warning and Ice Storm Warning and other areas will likely be included in winter weather alerts. It appears accumulations will be enough to cause disruption to travel and power outages.

Winter Storm Watch (blue shaded areas)

It appears coastal and eastern parts of the Carolinas could see 0.25 to 0.50 inches of freezing rain with isolated higher amounts. This would cause significant issues. Farther inland, where the warm layer above the surface is less, a brief bout of freezing rain accumulating to around 0.10 to 0.20 inches is possible with an inch or two of sleet and snow. Isolated higher snow amounts are possible across northern and northeastern North Carolina.

Snow accumulation forecast (it should be noted: some of the snow totals may appear augmented on this image due to sleet mixing in so snow totals will likely be less than what this image is showing)

Freezing rain accumulation forecast

Join the Firsthand Weather Supporter Group for this afternoon’s video forecast on this event.