This is going to be a busy weather, snow, road conditions reporting kind of day! I hate it when news people state "this is a fluid situation so stay tuned", but if the rest of this day and the next few days are anything like the first hour we’d have to update our report every few minutes to stay on top of what’s happening around the mountains of North Carolina right now!
I have caught myself several times this season making statements like, "I don’t think I’ve ever see this kind of weather anomaly" or "I can’t remember the last time we saw…" but it has been an unusual weather winter to say the least. However, I don’t think I have EVER received the kind of reports and witnessed the kind of weather anomalies that I am getting this morning! (There I go again!) However, consider this:
I left home this morning at 7:15am to harder rain and more water on the road than I can ever remember being associated with 32° temperatures. (That was the temp on my truck and signage when I got to my office.) I stopped in for a breakfast biscuit at the country store in Foscoe and one the crew there informed me that they had just driven in from Blowing Rock and that there was SIX INCHES OF SNOW on the ground and snowflakes nearly three inches in diameter coming down. I arrived at the office to lessening rain and more of a mix of snow. Now that I am at my desk I can log in and pan more than 30 live cameras and I am looking at Ski Beech and particularly Beech Mountain Parkway and the roads are relatively clear with perhaps a coating of slushy, wet snow and you can tell that the ground maybe has a half inch of snow and ice cover.
The subject of the morning has to be "Can you BELIEVE the size of those snow flakes?!?!" I have already heard from four different sources this morning and all four were describing what they thought was perhaps the largest snowflakes they’d ever seen. Louise Anderson over at Sugar just buzzed me with the same news.
A "paragraph ago" I was about to add that we’re seeing some moderate snow right now – but that has changed back to a mist. It seems we have that kind of day in store for us! We’re receiving all sorts of WINTER WEATHER ALERTS and watches but most of those apply to later tonight and Thursday. Most of those seem to be forecasting perhaps 2-4" of snowfall for Thursday. At this time things look to be more of the nasty, underdeveloped snow variety with freezing rain and trees, cars and all else being covered in a wet snow/ice mixture.
The temperature this AM is hovering in the 27-31° across the region. We’ve been expecting the mix of snow turning to rain turning to snow pattern for today as that has been forecasted for a couple of days now – but I didn’t expect it to be happening all at once!
The forecast IS for pockets of snow and wintry mix/rain for today as the high is expected to rise into the low to mid 40s. Wednesday night’s low should kick back to 27° amd changeover to an all snow event that should last through all of Thursday. The high tomorrow is forecasted to be in the upper 20s to low 30-31° range and Thursday night is when things get bitterly cold and drop back to around 13-15°. Expect lots of snowmaking and with the natural stuff, conditions should be simply AWESOME for Thursday skiing and snowboarding, Thursday night – and then the weekend is looking superb! Friday looks sunny and cold with highs in the upper 20s and lows in the teens (around the clock snowmaking!) and Saturday and Sunday looks like a sunny/snow/sunny/snow kind of two days with highs in the upper 20s to low 30s and lows in the teens both nights. So conditions will be SWEET!
The cold pattern looks to be holding up nicely so ski and riding conditions should be awesome for the next prolonged period. If you have not made it up to the mountains yet – or even if you have – get your gear together – and get your rear up here! This is what it is all about!
Let’s get to some reporting and we’ll update you as things warrant doing so. Before we dive into things – check back in just an hour or so as we’re giving away THREE VACATIONS TODAY…and you don’t want to miss that!
Here we go…
Appalachian Ski Mountain – 32° – They did not make snow, but Susan over there says they have areas where 5-6" of snow has fallen in Blowing Rock but there at the ski area they have a wet, slushy 2" or so this morning with 100% of their terrain open.
Cataloochee Ski Area – 31° – We just spoke with them and they have received 3" of wet snow this morning and they too are 100% open with tubing open as well. They are reporting that they made snow last night as well.
Ski Beech – 32° – They are reporting NO SNOW, but there IS a coating of perhaps one-half inch of slushy, wet, snow ice this morning. When is the last time you heard about 3" of snow at Cataloochee and Appalachian Ski Mountain but nothing at Beech. Weird but true! Anyway – BEECH has 11 trails open and groomed/frozen granular conditions for today. Expect them to begin making snow later this evening and 2-4" of snow is in the forecast for Thursday.
Be sure to check back later today for some updated news about this Saturday’s SkiNC / Ski Beech Summit!
<We panned the Big Red Slope Cam onto the roof of the gazebo at the top of the mountain to show only a coating of snow this morning. Other parts of the mountain has 2" of snow! Weird but rue. Sugar is only reporting 1".
Sugar Mountain – 24° – They are reporting 1" of snow this morning. It is a crazy weather day as some areas on the top side of Sugar are reporting one-half inch of ice, others are reporting an inch of slush. The view here at the top of the Big Red lift show nothing more than a coating of maybe a half inch. However 2-4" of snow is forecasted for Sugar for Thursday and Sugar made snow. They are 100% open and looking marvelously great!
Wolf Ridge Resort – They are reporting a mix of snow and rain this morning. They too should see some good natural snow on Thursday according to the forecast for over there. They have 11 trails open and tubing is open as well.
Hawksnest is reporting RAIN and they have closed the tubing park for today.
Sapphire Valley is closed today and Thursday (normal mid week hours).
We have a lot to share with you guys today – in addition to any updates on the weather, etc. We’re giving away several ski getaways later today and we have some updated news about this weekend’s SkiNC / Ski Beech Summit. We also want to kick up the promotions on the SkiSoutheast.com Snowshoe Summit coming up in SIXTEEN DAYS! It will be here before we know it! Be sure to check back within the next hour or two as we begin funneling more information to you guys! Check back in just a bit!
Also click over to www.SkiSoutheast.com and see how the North Carolina ski areas measure up to the rest of the Southeast and Mid Atlantic in terms of percentage of terrain that is open!
Send your comments, photos, videos and trip reports to: [email protected]