Cataloochee Ski Area

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Maggie Valley, NC

Base Cam
Summit Cam
Hemphill Cam

Forecast Discussion



... The typical summertime pattern continues with the subtropical ridge in the western Atlantic through the middle of the week. This will lead to daily mainly afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms. A cold front approaches the area from the northwest on Wednesday then tracks southward over the Carolinas Thursday into Friday. Expect a slightly cooler and less humid airmass behind the front for the weekend.

NEAR TERM /THROUGH TONIGHT/... Noon Update...A couple short-lived showers have popped up across the sw/rn NC mtns and the far ern zones where td/s are running a little higher, yet overall td/s are a couple degrees cooler than yesterday, hence the relatively low coverage. Expect slowly increasing activity over the few hrs with little storm movement, yet rather low rainfall rates.

Otherwise, weak wind field convergence over the heart of the forecast area should lead to relatively high coverage of showers and thunderstorms again this afternoon and evening, with a mountain maximum of PoP/QPF in the focused southeasterly to southerly upslope flow and differential heating. The convection allowing models once again depict additional Piedmont thunderstorms along an arriving seabreeze front this evening, but the CAMs haven't handled this well over the past few days, so sizeable chance PoPs won't be retained too late into the evening for this. Abundant low clouds this morning should cause heating to get off to a slow start, but SBCAPE values will likely rise quickly to 2000 to 2500 J/kg with any heating at all. A few strong to severe wind gusts cannot be ruled out once again, but moist profiles should keep the severe thunderstorm potential rather limited. Heavy rainfall and isolated flooding will once again be the primary threat given precipitable water values of 1.75 to 2 inches in profiles along with anticipated slow storm motion. Flooding is expected to be too localized to post any Watches at present. Max temps should peak a degree or so cooler than on Saturday.

Anticipate a quick downward diurnal trend on PoPs once again, but with a lingering isolated shower mention through the nighttime hours given the moist profiles and residual boundaries. Mins will run at least a category above climo, and fog and low clouds should return overnight to the mountain river valleys and locations that experience heavy rainfall today.

SHORT TERM /MONDAY THROUGH WEDNESDAY/... As of 300 AM Sunday: Thoughout the short term forecast period the Subtropical ridge in the western Atlantic will continue to be the main driver regarding our sensible weather. The subtropical ridge looks to gradually retreat east throughout the first half of Monday, pushing offshore the Carolina Coast Monday afternoon. The western periphery of the ridge looks to remain mostly offshore the Carolinas through the rest of the short term. Meanwhile, a cold front will track across the Midwest Monday into Tuesday, before tracking into the Ohio Valley on Wednesday. This overall pattern will lead to the continuation of diurnal shower and thunderstorm chances each day. Global models seem to suggest that the highest PoPs will be confined to the higher terrain. So, have likely to categorical PoPs across the mountains with likely to chance PoPs east of the mountains. With SW'ly flow at 850 mb in place early to middle of next week, this will lead to PWAT values ranging from around 1.50-1.75 inches east of the mountains. With very low bulk shear expected, ~5-10 knots, this will lead to very weak steering flow. So, with weak steering flow and above climo PWAT values expected, the threat for heavy rainfall leading to localized flooding will continue. This will be especially true for locations that see training of storms and for locations that received heavy rainfall the day before. With SBCAPE values generally ranging from 1000 to 1200 J/kg during peak daytime heating each day, strong storms will remain possible. Couldn't rule out an isolated severe storm with the main potential impact being damaging wind gusts from microbursts. High temperatures will have a slight warming trend early to middle of next week ahead of the approaching cold front. High temps will be around climo, becoming 2- 4 degrees above climo Tuesday and Wednesday. Lows through the short term should be around 3-7 degrees above climo.

LONG TERM /WEDNESDAY NIGHT THROUGH SATURDAY/... As of 330 AM Sunday: The aforementioned cold front above in the short term forecast period will track out of the OH Valley into the TN Valley Wednesday night before pushing into northern NC early Thursday morning. The cold front will sink southward across the western Carolinas Thursday into Thursday night. The FROPA should be just southeast of the fcst area early Friday morning before tracking towards the Carolina Coast Friday into early Saturday. Global models are mostly in good agreement regarding the timing of the precip associated with the FROPA late in the week. So, expected shower and thunderstorm chances to continue through the end of the work week. Have likely PoPs increasing from NE to SE throughout the day Thursday as the front pushes across the area. Have chance PoPs on Friday will the front pushing SE of the CWA. Depending on how far south the FROPA makes it on Friday, PoPs may need to be increased or decreased. Bulk shear looks to increase to 15-20 knots Friday into Saturday in association with the front. So, this should help offset the localized flooding risk a bit. However, with PWATs still looking to remain above climo per the GFS, (~1.60-2.00 inches), locally heavy rainfall will still be of some concern. The overall severe weather threat looks low for now. Models diverge regarding sfc high pressure building in behind the front Friday into Saturday. The GFS keeps the high north of the area, leading to continued shower and thunderstorm chances, while the ECMWF and Canadian have the high building into the area, leading to drier weather. Went ahead and stuck with chance PoPs heading into next weekend based on these model discrepancies. With 850 mb flow becoming W'ly and NW'ly Thursday into Friday, this will lead to noticeably cooler high temperatures. Cooler temps look to continue into Saturday as well. High temps should be a few degrees below climo through the extended forecast period. Humidity is expected to be on the decline as well leading to more pleasant conditions than we have seen in a while. Lows Wednesday night will remain a few degrees above climo. Thursday night lows will be around climo to a few degrees above climo, becoming a few degrees below climo Friday night.