Update from a Raleigh/NC/SE perspective
I am always going to focus on both local weather for me which is the Raleigh area but also on the national larger scale picture. Since I am on vacation this week as many of you are, I am going to focus this morning just on the upcoming stormy pattern from a Raleigh/NC/SE perspective.
December 26th Storm
The main aspect of this storm system for our area is going to be the threat for severe weather. It appears an organized line of severe storms will move into the western Carolinas around midday tomorrow and then progress east across the Carolinas through tomorrow evening. There will likely be some embedded strong to severe storms in this line and with a significant amount of low level shear present, these storms could rotate and thus isolated tornadoes are possible. Strong winds will be possible as well in each storm. I am awaiting the new SPC outlook later this morning, but I expect most of the area east of the mountains will remain in a slight risk for tomorrow. I do think the biggest threat though is from I-77 east, and in particularly from the Fayetteville to Raleigh area east and south.
There is the potential for a period of freezing rain/sleet in the mountain valleys and northern foothills primarily near the Va border, but as of now, any period of freezing/frozen precipitation will likely be limited in scope and impact. The big snow will be across the Ohio Valley and interior NE.
December 29th-30th Storm
This storm remains an interesting one. The latest 00z ECMWF has shifted a little further south with a surface low moving across the Gulf Coast and then strengthening off the southeast coast Saturday/Sunday. The model literally lays down 4-8 inches of snow across, WV, eastern KY, NE TN, NW NC and wetern Va, with 1-4 inches across central/eastern TN/ mot of KY, central/eastern Va, and northern NC. This is a much colder/wintry solution than the 6z GFS which shifted more to the north. This scenario has good support it appears from the ECMWF Ensemble members as the mean is very close to the operational. The 6z GFS Ensemble mean is pretty close to the operational run with the further north/warmer scenario. The 00z Canadians shows a much weaker system, but a similar track/thermal profile as the ECWMF. The 00z UKMET also looks similar to the ECMWF.
With most of the global model guidance leaning towards the further south/colder scenario, for now I will trust the ECMWF/ECMWF ENS/UKMET consensus over the GFS. With this track, the potential exists for wintry weather in particularly for TN/KY/WV/VA/NC this coming Saturday into Sunday. It looks primarily to be a rain vs snow scenario if this track verifies. I will keep you updated on this potential system!
January 1st-4th Potential
We continue to see significant oscillations in the models with this potential storm. The main reason is that the models are dependent on what happens with the upper low progged to cut off over the Southwest. The latest 6z GFS progresses this upper system out, or at least some of the energy, and we see the potential for a winter storm for TN/northern NC into the mid-Atlantic around 1/1 to 1/2. The latest ECMWF keeps the system pretty suppressed and has some light precipitation across the Southeast in this time frame. The ECMWF Ensemble mean is a bit wetter than the operational meaning at least some of the members are likely showing a winter storm. The Canadian looks to bring the system out later, but by then it would likely be a warmer event.
So the moral is that the potential still exists for a winter storm around this time frame. So stay tuned
Follow me on twitter at @RaleighWx. I will probably do some model play by play over the next few days as time permits.
Beyond this period, the ensembles/weeklies have been turning warmer and we may see a warmer pattern return by the 2nd week of January.