Cataloochee Ski Area

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Maggie Valley, NC

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Forecast Discussion



... Dry high pressure builds in through Wednesday with a slow cooling trend. Meanwhile, Tropical Cyclone Ian will move north into the eastern Gulf of Mexico and approach our area late in the week, affecting our weather this weekend.

NEAR TERM /THROUGH TONIGHT/... As of 1000 AM EDT Monday: No major changes this update cycle. Morning fog has mostly dissipated, although a few patches of low stratus are visible in parts of the French Broad Valley on satellite imagery. With a cold front positioned near the southeastern fringe of the CWA, profiles have dried out extensively and clear skies are expected through the day. Winds become gusty by afternoon as good mixing develops. Highs will be a little below normal across the mountains but near to slightly above normal elsewhere.

Gusts diminish this evening with winds eventually becoming light overnight. Mountain valley fog will form once again, but mainly in the Little TN basin. Lows will be around 10 degrees below normal.

SHORT TERM /TUESDAY THROUGH WEDNESDAY NIGHT/... As of 200 AM Monday...The short term will be quiet, as a large continental polar high pressure system builds into the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley under a deep longwave trough. The high will supply cooler, drier air to the forecast area. Tuesday looks like a very nice day, with sunny skies and generally light winds. Highs near to slightly below normal. Wednesday will be a little cooler, as a NELY breeze may develop across the Piedmont. Some cirrus emanating from Ian will start to stream in across the area, as the upper level moisture interacts with a deep trough still over the Southeast. Lows will be a few deg below normal both Tuesday and Wednesday nights, with some mid-upr 30s possible above 5000 ft. Although, there should be some wind and air will be very dry, so frost isn't expected.

LONG TERM /THURSDAY THROUGH MONDAY/... As of 230 AM Monday: Our medium range forecast will completely depend on the fate of Ian, as the consensus forecast still brings Ian (or it's remnants) right up into our forecast area. The models agree that Ian will miss the deep trough as it exits off the East Coast. This will allow Ian to drift north across the eastern Gulf. The EC and ECENS continue to be on the east side of the forecast envelope, while the GFS and the GEFS are on the western side. But they do seem to be in better agreement than the last couple days. The onset of deep tropical moisture streaming in on the north side of the circulation has been delayed a tad, with PoPs ramping up Thursday night into Friday. In fact, the 00z GFS is even slower, with mentionable PoPs starting after 12z Friday. Whenever the precip starts, a 1030+ mb high will be over Upstate NY, so hybrid CAD should set up quickly. This will strengthen a wedge front near the SC coast, as Ian near landfall somewhere along the northern FL Gulf coast. This set up could focus the heaviest rain to our SE, with cool, wedgy air mass atop the forecast area. Highs will be about 5-8 deg below normal Thursday, and 10-15 deg below normal Friday. Breezy NE winds expected both days.

The latest forecast has Ian slowly drifting north across GA Saturday, weakening to a tropical storm and transitioning into an extratropical cyclone. Heavy rain looks like the main threat as Ian approaches, with widespread 2-4" of QPF possible Thursday night thru Saturday. It will be breezy due to the tightening pres grad between Ian and the high to the north, but confidence is low on tropical-storm-force winds making it all the way into the forecast area. But with the heavy rain and gusty winds, still may see some trees and power lines come down. Also, any tropical tornado threat looks to remain to our SE near the wedge front. The 00z ECMWF has Ian take a sharper NWWD jog across GA, and suggests a tropical/warm sector air mass might get into the lower Piedmont Saturday aftn. But that is an outlier solution.

PoPs linger into Sunday, as the remnants of Ian wobbles across the region. Temps rebound from the chilly Friday highs, but still below normal thru Sunday.