Sapphire Valley

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Sapphire, NC

Sapphire Valley Resort
Fairfield Lake

Forecast Discussion



... Seasonably cool and dry conditions will persist through the weekend. A couple weak surface lows will bring precipitation to the area Monday and again during the middle of next week. There is the potential for a fairly strong and moist weather system to affect the region by next weekend.

NEAR TERM /THROUGH TONIGHT/... As of 1055 AM: Fog has lifted/dissipated and low clouds across the Piedmont will follow suite shortly. Web cams and radar confirm there is some snow shower activity near the Tennessee border in the mountains so the low end PoPs look good there. The forecast is on track with no changes planned with this update.

As of 645 AM: A vertically stacked low pressure system will move from the Ohio Valley into the Great Lakes region today. Warm air aloft associated with the occlusion will preclude mixing, and will maintain low cigs and fog across portions of the Piedmont this morning. Patchy dense fog returned in the NC Foothills after having cleared out earlier, but likely will linger until the stratus dissipates.

The secondary front will bring a resurgence in low-level moisture to the western slopes of the Appalachians, as winds eventually turn northwesterly across the area. Chilly temps will allow snow to develop near the Tenn border where not already. However, relatively weak winds and temperatures above -10C in the upslope layer suggest accumulation will be too small for an advisory. At least occasional light showers or flurries are likely to occur into Sunday along the border northeast of the French Broad Valley.

Max temps will be below normal across the mountains, but despite the cold fropa, near normal in the rest of the area thanks to the with the offsetting effects of downsloping and sunshine. Mins tonight will be slightly above normal over most of the area.

SHORT TERM /SUNDAY THROUGH MONDAY NIGHT/... As of 240 AM Saturday: An active pattern continues over the short term...yet mainly across the NC mtns. The upper flow becomes more zonal Sun...however waves of energy will traverse the flow before a s/w approaches the FA Sun night. This feature will bring a weak yet moist sfc trof to the mtns...thus PoPs have been increased to likely across the NC/TN spine before sunrise Mon. Partial thicknesses generally remain in the mixed zone...but soundings show a better chance of snow than rain across the far wrn NC mtns and elevations abv 3.5 Kft. Will expect light snow to begin late Sun evening continuing thru the overnight before tapering off by mid-day Mon. The best rates will coincide with the aforementioned h5 s/w which will likely produce arnd a couple inches over the wrn Smokies and places like Mt Mitchell. Snowfall amts will drop off quickly over lower elevation with perhaps a trace at KAVL in flurries or a -ra/sn mix. With increasing cloud cover...mins on Mon will remain abv freezing except across the higher elevs...while better rad cooling Mon night will allow temps to drop arnd normal. Max temps will reach normal levels each day as winds remain sw/ly Sun...briefly shift nw/ly with the sfc trof passage...then return w/ly by Mon afternoon in clearing skies outside the mtns.

LONG TERM /TUESDAY THROUGH FRIDAY/... As of 320 AM Saturday: A dry quiet day is in store to begin the period as the latest guidance agrees well with a confl pattern aloft and weak hipres engulfing the FA. The models are having a hard time with a complex split flow pattern Wed into Thu, however. The CMC has been fairly consistent with a moist nrn GOM low affecting the area with a good amt of precip over two days...however the ECMWF and GFS continue to have much drier solns. It doesn't help that 60 RAOB soundings didn/t make it into the 00z GFS run due to data ingest issues...yet overall the model is similar to ECMWF and is inline with it/s previous run. Will side with the drier idea of the GFS/EC and taper back PoPs due to the overall model spread uncertainty. Still believe there will be a sfc low across the nrn GOM Wed/Thu...but the amt of suppression could be too great for much of a precip or wintry wx issue. Have a -sn/ra mention for the mtns but with PoPs so low...will not advertise amts which would be pretty low right now anyway. Another more robust system looks to develop over the area outside of the fcst timeframe...however there are large differences in the individual model solns and quite a bit of spread seen in the ensembles. Yet, this could be a system to keep an eye on for the weekend.