It’s Snowing… Is more on the way?

First Trax

6:38pm EST Update: Just got back from a grocery run at Banner Elk and there’s a good 2" of snow up there; about an inch or slightly more here near Seven Devils and Andrea Smith at Snowshoe just reported in with 3" and 6 degrees!  So far the winds are not howling…yet! (We may update you guys a bit later…but at least in the AM.)

Also Tim Bryant, the VP Marketing/Operations at Scenic Wolf Resort updated us a bit ago that Wolf Ridge Ski Resort will NOT be opening this weekend.  We had previously reported that they were making snow AND that their website was reporting that they may open this weekend.  That was a bit premature as they will not open for this weekend, but will instead opt to make more snow with this arctic blast and additional natural snowfall. Bryant reports that Wolf Ridge will most likely open the middle of next week.

We’ve been telling you guys that our volunteer team of On-Snow Reporters are the b-o-m-b…but we should also give praise to our "family" of weather experts in the region. We continue to get nice comments and input from meteorologists in the region. Marcus Lynch of WCYB – NBC 5 in Johnson City has now begun to post updates and provide in-depth weather forecasts and that is something that we’ll all enjoy this season. …and our old friend, Brad Panovich of WCNC NBC 6 in Charlotte has always been a helpful ingredient in our offerings. Many of you know Brad from his frequent forecasts a season or two ago…and many others know Brad from his regular input on the messageboard. We appreciate all of the weather help we can get and there’s no question – the more the merrier.

Brad is a huge SNOW FAN and since the skies are clouding up here in the mountains of Western North Carolina AND since I just received a live report from over in Banner Elk that is has begun to snow…I figured this is a great time to share an email that Brad just sent!

Hi Mike…the site is looking awesome! Here is some insight into the upcoming weekend. Cold, cold and more cold…… but only for the weekend before milder air invades next week. The arctic front is moving through the central and southern Appalachians today (Thursday). Wind and snow will both pick up by 3-5 pm today. Accumulations are hard to nail down because of 3 reasons.

#1 There isn’t a ton of moisture with this front. In fact it is very dry. When I say dry I mean dry dew points will be below zero tonight through Saturday morning. Which means not a lot of liquid to make into snow within the cloud layer, but here’s where it gets tricky. Normally liquid to snow ratios are about 10:1. Meaning for .10 of water/rain you’d get 1" of snow. In this case we could have 30:1 or even 50:1 ratios which mean even with little water we could get some decent powdery snow. This is what happens all the time in Utah!

#2 It’s going to be windy, which means it will be hard to measure the snow. Combine that with the powdery nature of the snow and it’s virtually impossible to measure.

#3 It’s all about elevations and which side of the mountain you are on. Northwest facing slopes could get twice as much as other facing sides.

That all said here’s what I think:

North Carolina Mountains: 2-3" for Avery county slopes near the TN line could be closer to 4". Beach and Sugar looks great. Appalachian maybe dusting to an 1"

Maggie Valley: Looks good here as well. Parts of the Smokies could easily get 3-4". We’ll see if that can make it to the Cat. But Mt. Leconte will get 4" for sure!

VA mountains: 1-2" for most of these resorts due to their eastern locations!

West Virginia: This is a tough one, Snowshoe usually get good snow out of these kinds of fronts. Due to the fact that they get some added moisture form the Great Lakes which is then deposited in Pocahontas county, WV. So I’m going conservative here with 3-6" but would not be shocked to see 7 or 8" here.

Winds and cold are the other factors here. If you are skiing this weekend dress in layers and cover all exposed skin. Wind chills will be below zero at time Friday and Saturday and temperatures will be in the teens Friday to single digits at night and only around the low 20’s Saturday. Really Saturday doesn’t look bad at all. With the sun out and fresh snow and lots of snowmaking should be great conditions.

Snowmaking: Looks absolutely great, cold and dry from now until Monday. So with 24/7 operations slopes should be plenty covered. Oh.. BTW get those goggles out this weekend; they are gong to be blowing snow for sure.

Should be some best conditions do far this year. Good skiing!

On a side not I built my homemade snow gun last night and hope to try it out tonight and blow some snow Friday night in my front yard. Wish me luck!

We DO wish you good luck Brad…and send us some photos!


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