The Worst is Over…Cold Temps and Snow Beginning Tonight!

Wow, I am glad that yesterday is over as it was pretty terrible in terms of the weather. Here in North Carolina, there was lightning and thunder last night…in January. How often does that happen? Beech actually had to stop the lifts due to the lightning. I’d imagine Sugar did as well. Just a little south of here down towards Morganton there was a tornado. Yeah, I said tornado! That is not what I want to be talking about during ski season.

In terms of the ski areas though, the rain (yeah I said it) is the bigger (and unfortunate) story with this weather system. Yesterday morning I mentioned how App was closed for the day, which ended up being a good call. Ober Gatlinburg and Wolf Ridge followed suit soon thereafter. Sapphire Valley is actually closed for the entire week, re-opening tomorrow. App, Ober, and Wolf are all open again today though.

The rain amounts were fairly impressive here in NC. Our Sugar Mountain weather station is showing 1.59” since Tuesday night. At times yesterday it was coming down pretty heavily here in the High Country.

The Virginia ski areas saw a similar amount of precip yesterday it looks like. CoCoRaHS is showing similar numbers up that way this morning.

The winners, if there are any, are the West Virginia resorts. The Silver Creek weather station up at Snowshoe is only showing 0.6” of precip from this system.

You would expect base depths to have dropped significantly this morning, but they haven’t. I don’t know if the people who do the updates haven’t been outside yet, but most places are only showing a drop of a few inches. Some resorts aren’t even reporting a decrease at all, which is definitely a little bit of a fib. I’m not seeing any drops in trail counts though, which is awesome! I would have thought some places would lose some trails this morning, but that doesn’t appear to be the case.

Now on to the good news. The worst of the weather is behind us. There might be a few scattered showers at the ski areas this afternoon, but nothing like what we saw yesterday. Much colder air is on the way and it looks like most, if not all, of the resorts will see some natural snowfall tonight. Here in North Carolina, the ski areas are looking at 1-3”. The Virginia resorts won’t see that much as only a dusting to a half inch or so is expected there.

Up into West Virginia, accumulations will be more significant as snow showers will continue through Saturday. The NWS is forecasting 3-5 inches tonight at Snowshoe, with another 1-3 inches tomorrow. Some strong winds are forecasted as well, so there will be plenty of wind loaded spots where the powder will be pretty deep I’d imagine. Sunday and Monday should be pretty awesome up there.

<<< As you can see from the radar this morning, snow is on the way!

Regardless of snowfall, everyone will see a good 72 hour window to make snow as temperatures should support around the clock snowmaking for just about everyone. Once again, we’ll see temps plummet beginning tonight. Like I said yesterday, the roller coaster that is this season continues!

<<< Much colder temps are on the way too!  You don’t have to look very hard at this image to tell where the cold front is.


MLK weekend is shaping up pretty nice. This cold front that is moving through later today is coming at a perfect time. Conditions should be really good with the combination of natural and manmade snow. I’m hoping to see jam packed ski areas across the region this weekend!

I’m trying to think of more to talk about but the weather has me kind of bummed and there really isn’t that much to talk about. My mood tomorrow should be much improved though and I’m pretty stoked thinking about how much better things will be looking in just 24 hours. So, that’s it for now. DEFINITELY check back tomorrow!

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Mike Doble
Mike is the Editor and founder of SkiSoutheast.com, SkiNC.com and ResortCams.com. Since September 1996 he has posted more than 13,000 posts, articles, photos and videos promoting all of the ski areas of North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland.Mike is the father of four daughters, is an avid skier and enjoys golf, tennis, kayaking and hiking in the mountains. Winter snowsports and Summer boating on Watauga Lake are among his favorite pastimes.