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Alhough winter storm is coming, snow forecast varies widely

Forecasters are predicting the first winter storm of the year this weekend, although the amount of snow accumulation varies widely depending on the source.


Forecaster Paul Speranza, who broadcasts the weather for Lightning radio partner WTZQ, predicted that Henderson County could see 10-15 inches of snow when a major storm moves in starting Saturday night.
“There’s a very extreme high opportunity of a big storm coming in,” Speranza said at noon Wednesday. “Once you get into the evening hours (Saturday), snow is going to intensify, you’ll see moderate to heavy snow developing, temperatures by the morning will get down to the 20 degree mark,” he said. “I think you’re not going to be going places on Sunday. I think you’re going to be staying home and looking out your window. The southern part of the county may encounter a little bit of sleet mixed in — just depends on the track of that storm. But overall, more snow than anything else. … Ten to 15 inches of snow is what I’m looking for.”
The National Weather Service was more cautious. Greer-South Carolina-based meteorologist Clay Chaney said it’s too early to predict snowfall totals.
“Looks like there’s still the possibility of ice and snow, (a combination) seems more likely at this point,” Chaney said. “So we’re confident in the winter storm. We’re not confident in the main type of winter weather, whether it be snow, sleet or freezing rain. That’s going to put a damper on (forecasting) accumulations. We don’t have a clear picture on that as well.”
“Monday morning could be a concern just because temperatures are expected to drop down into the 20s,” Chaney added. “We’re looking at the potential for black ice on Monday morning.”

WLOS called for "moderate snow accumulation" Saturday night followed by a 70 percent chance with "additional heavy snow accumulation possible" during the day Sunday and 50 percent chance Sunday night.

High winds with the potential for a coating of ice and snow on trees and powerlines is a bad combination, Speranza noted, warning that power outages could occur. Plus, whatever falls is likely to stick around.
“You’re looking at the daytime highs of upper 30s to 40 on Monday and then Monday night temperatures get down to the upper teens to the low 20s — anything melts you know what’s going to happen,” he said. “It’s going to get hard as a rock plus the wind’s going to be blowing.”
Speranza also pointed out that the winter storm comes during the coldest week of winter historically, from Jan. 11 to Jan. 18. The school administrators won’t have to deal with making a call on the weather situation until early Wednesday. Schools are closed Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Tuesday for a teacher work day.
Both forecasters recommended people take action now to prepare for the storm and possibility of a power outage.
“By Friday, when more people hear what’s going on, I’m sure stores are going to be packed,” Speranza said. “Why wait? I don’t want to be with all those people running around.”