The Charlotte area could see its first snowfall of the season Friday as a blast of Arctic air and moisture roll into the Carolinas this week. Here are five things you need to know:
1. TRACKING THE SYSTEM: As a low pressure system moves into the Carolinas on Friday another surge of cold air moves in. "That's when we get our little scare of snow," said chief meteorologist Brad Panovich. The snow all depends on the track of the low pressure system.
- Track 1: If it hangs a little closer to the coast, there will be rain along the coast, rain in Charlotte and snow in the mountains. "Not a big deal," according to Panovich.
- Track 2: The second track brings the snow closer to Charlotte and with the cold air in place, it becomes a little bit more moisture.
- Track 3: "This is the track that looks more likely," Panovich said. The third track brings rain along the coast with the rain/snow line very close to Charlotte.
2. SNOW WILL FALL BUT IT WON'T STICK The cold air moved in and temperatures Thursday will be about five degrees below average with highs only in the low to mid 50s. We likely won't see accumulation of snow because while the temperatures in our area will be cold, they're not really going to be below freezing. "While I certainly think we're going to see snow fall, I think it's very unlikely that it will stick to the ground."
3. WHEN IT ARRIVES The timing is late Friday into Saturday. In the Rock Hill area there is chance to see some snowflakes. In the Charlotte area there may be a trace to half an inch of snow on grassy surfaces and anything elevated like your grill and patio furniture. The ground is pretty warm so if snow falls it will melt. Along the interstate 40 corridor there might be a band of 1-2 inches of snow on the grassy surfaces. The mountains will have the coldest air and the best chance for accumulation.
4. THE GROUND IS WARM The soil temperatures around Charlotte are around 50 degrees. "That's really warm and when air temperatures are in the upper 30s that means we don't have everything we need to get snow," Panovich explained. "When you look at the checklist for snow we have moisture, cold air above the surface, but we don't have cold air at the surface and the ground is too warm. It's one of those situations where snow will probably fall, but you won't see it stick."
5. SNOW METER Brad's snow meter is at a 1. "This is not going to be a big, impactful event. It's basically a cold rain and the roads are going to be just fine."