Carolinas prepare for arctic blast: But who is getting snow?

Arctic air plunges towards the Carolinas Tuesday night. But the real question is, who is getting snow?

A strong system is developing in the upper Midwest bringing widespread snow to the Dakotas and Minnesota. This same system will quickly work across the country and move into the North Carolina mountains by late Tuesday afternoon.

Expect one last mild day with highs staying in the 60s ahead of the front. Clouds will quickly increase during the day with rain chances picking up tomorrow after dark. The Mountains will be too warm Tuesday night for an all snow event, with the majority of the system bringing rain. The threat for snow comes after 10 p.m.  as cold air mixes into the system.

Not all places will change over to snow with the system. Elevations need to be over 4,000 feet to pick up snow, this brings the best chance to the ski resorts. Anywhere from 1-2 inches will be possible from Sugar Mountain to Beech Mountain with a trace possible near Boone and Jefferson.


Morganton and Lenoir will struggle to change the rain over to snow with only a few flakes mixing in Wednesday morning. For the Piedmont, this looks like an all rain event starting Tuesday evening. Some of the rain could be heavy at times with accumulations around 0.25-0.5 inches.


After the rain moves through Wednesday, the coldest air of the season moves in. A very strong trough will develop on the eastern half of the country bringing a direct flow from the Arctic to the Carolinas. This will not only bring a blast of cold air this weekend, but could bring a prolonged cold snap through the month of December.

The cold snap starts on Wednesday with temperatures falling most of the day as the northwest winds pick up. Temperatures will fall from the 50s in the morning to the 30s by Wednesday evening. Highs Thursday will struggle to get out of the 40s. Highs Friday and Saturday could stay in the middle 40s! Lows over the weekend will be bitterly cold with lows dropping into the middle 20s.

Once the cold air is in place, any system could bring a threat for snow. Friday we are watching a system try to develop along the coastline and could bring some light precipitation to the region. Uncertainty is still high for Friday with a lot of models in disagreement but there is still a chance for some light snow in some places.

If the Charlotte metro is to pick up any type of snow, it would likely occur Friday morning or Friday night while temperatures are in the low 30s. We are not going to totally rule out a few flakes flying during the day Friday, but the chances still look low.


Light snow showers and some light rain will be possible from Statesville to Hickory Friday. The chance for accumulations will stay low everywhere with only minor accumulations across the Foothills and Piedmont.

The best chance for 1-2 inches of snow will again stay in the higher elevations Friday and Saturday. This will be a great time to start heading up to ski resorts with 24/7 snow making and a few inches of real snow mixing in!

No need to panic at this point but it will definitely need to be monitored over the coming days. 

Make sure to stay up to date with the FOX 46 Neighborhood Storm watch team.