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Big snowstorm for Carolinas could be historic

December 06, 2018; 3:19 PM

December 6, 2018:

A large, early winter storm is headed for North Carolina and Virginia, with at least 2 feet of snow likely in the mountains and perhaps over 1 foot in the foothills or Piedmont. The current AccuWeather forecast is shown below.

AccuWeather Snow Forecast 12/6

The models have been fairly consistent in the last 48 hours... although maximum forecast snowfall amounts have come down a bit since yesterday, when both the high-res GFS and European models said 43 to 46 inches of snow could fall, and today's runs say "only" 24-26 inches would be the maximum.

Model forecast snow 12/6

If today's AccuWeather forecast for Charlotte, North Carolina, comes true, the city could get as much as 12 inches of snow, which would put this storm just under the top 5 snowstorms on record. (For what it's worth, the models have predicted even more for the area at some point this week).

AccuWeather Forecast for Charlotte 12/6

Top 5 Biggest Snowstorms - Charlotte, NC

For Asheville, North Carolina (where I went to school during the Blizzard of 1993), we are forecasting 15 inches of snow, which, again, puts it just below the top 5 snowstorms of all-time.

Top 5 Biggest Snowstorms - Asheville

If you look at a map of each county in North Carolina, as is shown on WRAL's website, you can see that there are a few areas where the record snowfall could be broken by the storm, especially those counties where the maximum three-day snowfall is less than one foot, and most of those records are in the spring, so if nothing else, we'll likely see a lot of December snowstorm records perish this weekend.

Top 3-Day Snowfalls in North Carolina

Not surprisingly, one of the largest SREF "plume" forecasts I could find (which shows a variety of model predictions on one graph) was for West Jefferson in the northwest mountains of North Carolina, with a mean of 17 inches of snow and a range of around 10 to 27 inches.

West Jefferson, NC Plume Forecast 12/6

Something else the plumes show us: Charlotte's mean snowfall forecast is only 5 inches; it's as likely that there will be rain (green), freezing rain (red), sleet or ice as there is snow, and this will likely cause snow amounts to be less, short of a historic nature.

SREF Plume Precip Type Forecast Charlotte 12/6

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com

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