Winter Storm Diego Set to Strike Southeast
Updated 12/9/18: FOX News (Carolina) issued a report titled Power outage numbers continue to climb in the Upstate, Mountains as winter weather continues.
North/South Carolina Power Outages (by county) as of 12/9/18:
- Buncombe: 18,355
- Haywood: 9,649
- Henderson: 8,186
- Jackson: 4,004
- Macon: 6,080
- Polk: 7,007
- Rutherford: 12,844
- Transylvania: 7,131
- Cherokee (SC) – 1,219
- Greenville: 12,226
- Oconee: 916
- Pickens: 492
- Spartanburg: 15,076
Source: FOX Carolina
Updated 12/9/18: The Weather Channel published an article titled Winter Storm Diego Leaves Nearly 270,000 Without Power Across Southeast.
Updated 12/8/18: Virginia Governor Ralph Northam issued a statewide emergency declaration in anticipation of Winter Storm Diego.
Updated 12/7/18: North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper issued a statewide emergency declaration in anticipation of Winter Storm Diego.
Updated 12/6/18: Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin issued a statewide emergency declaration in anticipation of Winter Storm Diego.
December 6, 2018
Source: The Weather Channel
Winter Storm Diego will spread a widespread mess of snow, sleet and freezing rain from the southern Plains to the Southeast late this week into early next week.
Diego was named Wednesday evening with the expectation that its long swath of wintry precipitation will meet both the areal and population thresholds used to trigger naming. Population criteria for naming was reached late Friday afternoon.
The storm system is currently producing lower-elevation rain and mountain snow from parts of the Southwest into the southern Plains.
Some pockets of mixed precip are possible this afternoon in the Texas panhandle.
Heavy rain and high elevation snow caused problems in southern California on Thursday.
Mudslides and flash flooding forced evacuations and necessitated several rescues while higher elevations in the southern Sierra picked up 6 inches of snowfall.
Into early next week, Diego will unleash its heaviest amounts of snow and ice as it moves farther eastward while interacting with cold air supplied by high pressure to its north. The snow and ice will cause significant travel disruptions from parts of the southern Plains into the Southeast. Ice accumulations in some areas may be heavy enough for tree damage and power outages as well.
Current Winter Alerts
Winter weather advisories have been issued by the National Weather Service for portions of New Mexico and the Texas Panhandle, as well as in southern Missouri and northern Arkansas. Winter storm watches are posted for parts of southeastern New Mexico, northern Texas and Oklahoma, including the Oklahoma City area.
Winter storm warnings are in effect for much of northern Arkansas for the early part of the weekend.
Winter storm warnings and winter storm watches are also in effect for western North Carolina, southwestern Virginia, upstate South Carolina and extreme northeastern Georgia for Saturday evening through Monday. This area includes Charlotte, Greensboro and Asheville, North Carolina, Greenville, South Carolina and Johnson City, Tennessee.
These warnings and watches stand as a heads up that dangerous winter weather conditions, including heavy snow and/or damaging ice, are possible this weekend.
There is still some uncertainty in key forecast details, but the odds continue to increase for a major winter storm.
Winter Storm Diego Timing
Into Friday Night
– Freezing rain will develop and become more widespread by Friday evening across the Texas Panhandle.
– By Friday night, widespread snow will develop from eastern New Mexico into the Texas Panhandle and western Oklahoma.
– Snow, sleet and freezing rain may spread as far east as southern Missouri and northern Arkansas by Friday night.
– Rain, heavy at times, is expected farther south across Texas, Louisiana, southern Arkansas, northern Mississippi, southern Tennessee and northwestern Alabama.
– Travel will likely be affected by wet and/or wintry weather on stretches of interstates 40 and 35 in the southern Plains.
– Snow, heavy at times, will affect the southern half of the Appalachians, potentially including far upstate South Carolina, western North Carolina, southern Virginia and southern West Virginia.
– Snow, ice and strong winds increase the possibility of falling trees and power lines, according to the National Weather Service.
– Significant ice or snow will impact parts of the adjacent foothills and Piedmont region as far south and east as the Interstate 85 corridor in the Carolinas and possibly as far east as Interstate 95 in southern Virginia.
– Travel disruption is possible on stretches of Interstate 26, Interstate 40, Interstate 85, Interstate 77 and Interstate 95.
– Strong onshore winds may contribute to pounding surf, beach erosion and possible coastal flooding from the southern mid-Atlantic coast to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, including the Delmarva Peninsula and the Virginia Tidewater.
– Strengthening low pressure off the Southeast coast may allow a rain-and-snow mix to linger from the southern Appalachians and adjacent Piedmont into the Tennessee Valley.
– We will continue to monitor the storm for any potential turn toward the northeastern United States early next week. As of right now, the majority of forecast guidance suggests the low will stay far enough offshore to prevent major impacts in the Northeast.
How Much Snow and Ice?
Snow and ice accumulations from this storm will be expansive, extending from the southern Plains, Ozarks and to the southern half of the Appalachian Mountains and the adjacent Piedmont region.
Significant mixing is likely in each of these areas, meaning additional rain, sleet or freezing rain compared to these forecasts will cut down snowfall totals. If the air is colder than currently forecast, then the opposite could occur, and more snow would accumulate.
Here’s an initial look at what to expect in each region, keeping in mind it’s subject to change.
Southern Plains and Ozarks
– Snow totals in the southern Plains are forecast to be generally less than 6 inches in the Texas Panhandle, eastern New Mexico and in southwestern Oklahoma.
– Light to moderate snow is possible in parts of the Ozarks in northern Arkansas. Some sleet and freezing rain will also mix in at times.
– Significant icing, potentially causing tree damage and triggering power outages, cannot be ruled out from northern Arkansas into northwestern Tennessee and far southwestern Kentucky.
Ohio Valley to the Appalachians and Piedmont
– The heaviest snow accumulations from Winter Storm Diego will be in the southern Appalachians in western North Carolina. Totals topping a half-foot or even a foot are likely in this region.
– Significant ice and snow accumulations could also impact the adjacent foothills and Piedmont, as well as into parts of southern Virginia, but it’s too early for specifics since precipitation types may vary in those lower elevations.
– Power outages and tree damage could occur in areas where snow and ice accumulations are heaviest.
– Some light snow or light ice accumulation also cannot be ruled out as far south as northeastern Georgia.
There is the possibility that Diego could bring a foot or more of snow to Asheville, North Carolina.
In records dating to 1869, the western North Carolina city has only seen a dozen snowstorms with accumulations of at least 12 inches.