January 2018 was very cold, February was unusually warm, but March & April were cold with late snows. May was blazing hot & the summer was warmer than normal (mainly from warmer overnight lows) with high humidity & it was warm right to early October. It took a long time for the trees to change color due to summer lingering on with unusually warm nights in early October. Since mid October, it has been unseasonably cold. November was the coldest in 22 years with the greatest number of days with flakes for the month in 46 years.
December 1-9, so far, is averaging out below normal temperature-wise for the viewing area. However, when you look at the year as a whole, the mean temperatures is right on par with normal. The last year that saw the mean temperature so close to the exact normal in the January 1-December 9 period was 2004.
The October 1-December 9 period has been the coldest since 2014. At West Lafayette, in the 1879-present data set, this period was the 9th coldest. The coldest October 1-December 9 period on record was 1880. In the 20th to 21st century, the 1976 had the coldest such period.
We are just picking up some clouds from this winter storm to our south, but it will be historic for northeast Georgia to northern South Carolina & North Carolina.
Looks like one of the heaviest snowstorms since the Blizzard of 1993 is likely for the high terrain of North Carolina to Virginia. The 1869-present snowstorm record for Asheville is 18.2" set in the Blizzard of 1993. Models are cranking out around 20", if the freezing rain stays at bay. A large area of +12" of snow will fall, along with considerable blowing & drifting.
Data is suggesting up to 3-4" FEET in the high terrain around the Smokey Mountains.
It is interesting that in the analysis, I found good matches of 2002-03 & 2009-10 for this winter & 2002-03 & 2009-10 saw multiple major snow & icing events (ranking in the top 10 worst) over the mountains & Piedmont of North Carolina to northeast Georgia! The mountains of North Carolina saw 3 major snows of several feet in 2009-10 winter. Snow made it all the way to the beaches of South Carolina in January 2003.
A damaging ice storm is likely in the mountains of northeastern Georgia to northern South Carolina & far southwestern North Carolina just outside of the heaviest snowfall.
This winter storm will be one for the record books!
After this big southern winter storm, we are looking at cold rain & a bit of snow mixed late Wednesday-Thursday with increasing, gusty southeast winds.
A significant storm system with strong winds & rain will pass Friday. Rain will end as a period of wind-driven snow. Some accumulation is possible. Another, similar storm will pass around December 18-20 with rain, then snow with strong winds. Some accumulation is possible.
In this stormy, active pattern, another strong storm system with highs winds should pass just before Christmas. It looks like rain/snow to wind-driven all snow. Accumulation looks possible.
Temperatures will oscillate quite a bit now-December 25. It does not look overly mild, but it does not look brutally cold. Temperatures will probably average out slightly below normal to normal for this period. Looks like the warmest day of the next 20 may be around December 19 with highs 50-54.
Bitterly cold weather should arrive in January. We should then begin to see some nights drop below zero as more snowfalls occur.
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