A Winter Storm Watch has been issued for a large portion of the Coastal Empire and Lowcountry. Wintry precipitation, including some accumulation, is likely Wednesday morning through afternoon.
An area of low pressure rapidly develops off the Florida coast Tuesday evening, strengthening and moving northward early Wednesday.
As the system passes the area by, moisture gets thrown back into the southeastern United States from the Atlantic Ocean. With cold air already in-place, moisture may fall as a wintry mix initially before possibly changing over to pure snow before ending.
While confidence is increasing in wintry weather occurring across portions of the Coastal Empire and Lowcountry, specifics remain uncertain and further changes to the forecast are guaranteed. In general, the chance of seeing wintry weather increases the closer to the coast you get and it peaks across the South Carolina Lowcountry.
Clouds thicken Tuesday evening and precipitation – likely a wintry mix – may begin to fall as early as 3 or 4 a.m. south of the Altamaha River. The chance of wintry weather expands northeastward through the morning hours with everyone standing a chance at seeing stuff fall by 8 or 9 a.m. A wintry mix may continue through the afternoon.
Accumulation is the most challenging part of Wednesday’s forecast.
Type of accumulation and intensity at which it falls determines what accumulates Wednesday. If moisture falls as freezing rain or sleet for a longer period than expected, then there will be very little snow accumulation. However, if it falls as snow throughout the entire event – more accumulation is possible.
Data continues to suggest that air will be cold enough for a mostly sleet and snow event Wednesday.
On top of a thin glaze of ice, one to three inches of sleet and/or snow are possible. The heaviest accumulation potential is across the Lowcountry.
Here you go!! This is a comparison of four computer models. All are showing a wintry mix Wednesday. These totals are subject to change so please stay tuned for updates. #scwx #gawx pic.twitter.com/SWkTfOVJym— WTOC Weather (@WTOCFirstAlert) January 2, 2018
Temperatures will be below freezing as wintry weather occurs, increasing the risk of travel issues. Slick travel is most-likely on elevated portions of area roadways, bridges and overpasses between 4 a.m. and 4 p.m.
The forecast rapidly clears out later Wednesday afternoon into the evening. However, what accumulated will either stick around through Wednesday night or refreeze after melting some Wednesday afternoon.
The first alert forecast team will continue to provide updates on TV, at wtoc.com and in the WTOC News and Weather Apps.
Copyright 2018 WTOC. All rights reserved.