First taste of wintry weather Monday for Central NC? Possible, but unlikely

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — It is inevitable. It is now December, and any system that moves through Central North Carolina with the right set up will flag the possibility of seeing a wintry mix (or the s-word) as a precipitation type.

Our first display of that is Monday.

European model forecast of wintry mix Monday evening.

First, we should understand we are more than three days out, and forecasting wintry precipitation in North Carolina more than 48 hours out is often a fool’s errand.

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Still, our forecast models have started hinting that cold air may be in place to at least allow a brief mix or changeover to the frozen variety precipitation on Monday.

Second, models that show wintry precipitation are actually quite different in their forecasts. Take for instance the European model and the GFS models (really the only models in range at this point).

The European forecasts mainly a chance at a wintry mix late Monday. On the other hand, the American GFS model shows an actual changeover to the s-word (snow for those who haven’t caught on yet). Both images below are from the same time from both models.

GFS model forecast of snow and wintry mix for Monday evening.

So what do we do with this information? As meteorologists, we dig deeper into the data to see if such a forecast is supported by temperature and moisture profiles of the atmosphere. For the GFS at least, it will be a race to get enough moisture in place with cold air to line up just right to even make snow. It is definitely something to watch, and for a snow lover something to hope for, but time will tell if this is even a possibility. It could be by Saturday morning models have completely flipped and show nothing falling. Such is the life of a meteorologist south of the Mason-Dixon line in winter.

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