Monday Night 1/27/14 Update:
A rare Winter Storm Warning is in effect for most of our area Tuesday night through Wednesday morning. The primary reason for its issuance is the threat of freezing rain. Quick weather lesson: Freezing rain is basically just plain old rain, BUT the temperature near the ground is at or below 32 degrees (F). In this icy case, the rain can freeze on contact with power lines, tree limbs, and sometimes on roadways. Icy roadways are by far the most dangerous type of wintry driving condition. Even experienced drivers from up north can have driving difficulties if there is any ice on the roads. We are *not* expecting widespread icing in this region, but even isolated patchy ice on bridges and overpasses can be dangerous - thus the Winter Storm Warning. If there is any icing in the area, the most likely time would be Wednesday morning.
What about sleet and snow? Yes, they are still technically possible, but no accumulation is expected. As the rain begins to wind down Wednesday morning, colder air will fill in behind it, and may change the rain over to a mixture with sleet (ice pellets) or flurries, but conditions just do not look promising to get any accumulations.
As always - it's "weather", which means that there could be some minor changes to the forecast, and we will detail those (if they happen) in our broadcasts throughout the day, the night and on our web site wctv.tv.
We hear it at the start of every winter season - "Is this the year we're gonna get some snow?!?" Our answer is always "Is it is possible? Yep. Is it likely? Absolutely not."
The last "real" snow in our area was February 12, 2010, mainly in southwest Georgia. See the LINK for our story and a few pictures.
Why is it such a rare event? The simple answer is that 99% of the time (give or take a percentage point or two), whenever it gets COLD enough to snow, it is no longer WET enough to snow. Our best snow chances arise when we get a strong cold front passing through the area, with a weak, wet system following well behind it, usually along the northern Gulf of Mexico.
Next week (Tuesday 1/28 - Wednesday 1/29), we will be close to such a setup. Another surge of cold, arctic air is expected to arrive starting on Tuesday 1/28, followed by an area of low pressure developing in the northeastern gulf, moving to the northeast into the Atlantic off the coast of Georgia. Several computer models are picking up on this now and have WIDELY varying forecast snow amounts, from nothing, to an inch or two in our area, and perhaps as much as several inches along the coast of South Carolina. Just a slight change in the depth or magnitude of the cold air, OR the strength and/or track of the low pressure system will greatly change future forecasts.
Of course, we'll watch it day and night, and forecast the most likely scenario. If it does happen, we'll revel in it as much as anyone. Of course, if it doesn't happen, it will be yet another case of "Ohhhh! So close. What about next winter?"