Snow continues to move through the area

Credit: Bob Carroll / WCNC

Snow in Fort Mill, South Carolina Saturday March 2, 2013 around 11:15 a.m.


by Staff

Posted on March 1, 2013 at 6:55 AM

Updated Sunday, Mar 3 at 9:59 AM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A heavy band of snow continues to move through the Charlotte area at this hour.  

At 10:45 a.m. it was snowing in south Charlotte, western and northwestern Union County and most of York County.  The snow is moving to the southeast.

Temperatures are in the low 30s where the snow is falling.

“Later this afternoon there is enough cold air aloft that with another disturbance coming from Kentucky and Tennessee we could see a few more snow flurries,” said First Warn Storm Team Chief Meterolgist Brad Panovich.  “But it will be a little bit warmer this afternoon so some of the snow that falls may be a graupel as we call it or maybe a hail pellet.  It will have a tough time sticking to the ground.”

Several areas in and around Charlotte saw a quick burst of snow Saturday morning and in some places a half an inch of accumulation on the grass.  But the sun is going to come out soon and melt any snow on the ground.

“Don’t change your afternoon plans,” Panovich said.  “Temperatures are above the freezing mark and the roads are just wet.”

Tonight it could be a different story as temperatures dip into the mid 20s.  Any moisture could freeze overnight and black ice could be a concern in the morning.

A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect for Ashe, Avery and Watauga counties through 6:00 p.m. Saturday.

Temperatures will struggle to climb back into the low 40s under cloudy skies. We'll see scattered mountain snow showers and continue the 40% chance of snow flurries or rain showers out across the Piedmont, mainly through the late afternoon, said Meghan Danahey of the First Warn Storm Team.

(Download the free Charlotte Weather app to track temperatures in your neighborhood)

By Sunday the disturbance moves off the coast.

The chance for snow flurries drops back to 20 percent early Sunday and lows fall back into the upper 20s.

Highs on Sunday will be in the cold--low 40s. Lows fall back into the low 20s Monday morning.

The cold weather sticks around all next week with a better chance for snow flurries Tuesday into Wednesday.

Next week's storm system is currently over the Pacific Ocean. 

"Which means we don’t have the greatest data going into our numerical weather models right now. Remember, there is limited to no surface or upper air stations over the vast areas of the oceans. So the sampling of this storm is not very good right now, which should always be a word of caution when forecasting a storm. That changes this weekend when it arrives on the West Coast," First Warn Storm Team Chief Meteorologist Brad Panovich explained.

Then things start to get interesting as the 500mb low and vorticity crank up and move southeast into the trough on the East Coast. 

3-1-2013 12-00-39 PM

By the time it gets to the Carolinas it has both some cold air and plenty of moisture to work with.

"The interesting thing about this storm is the strong indications on the GFS model and even the ECMWF model of a deformation zone forming," Panovich said.  "These zones are areas of intense lift and cooling that usually means heavy snow banding."

This is the 700mb vertical velocities or lift along with moisture at that level. The 700mb level is your ideal snow growth region.

3-1-2013 12-01-52 PM

How much snow we could get from next week's system is hard to predict.

"This far out it’s really hard to say because the track could move just 50-100 miles and make all the difference in the world," Panovich said.  "I suspect we will see this start as a rain snow mix and change back to snow. The real chances of a significant storm would hinge on the placement of that 700mb deformation zone. That would form on the northwest side of the low track."

The GFS model output for snow looks like this.

3-1-2013 12-03-46 PM

"I’m not sold completely yet on this storm due to the lack of good model data to this point," Panovich said.  "The pattern is there so a storm is likely. The location and track though is currently in doubt. This could crank up after it moves through and we see nothing. Yet the one thing that is also worth noting is the intense blocking going on in the North Atlantic. This blocking can really lead to big east coast storms, but it also plays havoc with the model data. The numerical models have a tough time resolving storms in this type of pattern.  So for now I’m leaning towards a rain/snow mix with little accumulations. I suspect this could be more of a Mid-Atlantic storm, VA/MD/DE storm than a NC storm. I will have a much better idea and feel much more confident this weekend once the storm is over the West Coast."