Forecasters are confident a major winter storm will impact Spartanburg late Saturday night through most of Sunday, but they still aren't sure whether it would be an all-snow event or a mix of snow and ice.
An all-snow event with just 1 inch of precipitation could mean 10 inches of snow.
But it's beginning to look like Spartanburg will see enough sleet and freezing rain to limit snow totals to a few inches at best, meteorologist Jake Wimberley of the National Weather Service at Greenville Spartanburg International Airport said late Wednesday afternoon.
"It's looking more likely there will be a storm and there is low confidence as to whether it will stay mostly snow," Wimberley said. "The concern is the system may pass a little west of the area, which would allow more warm air to work into the storm above the surface. That would allow snow to change to freezing rain or sleet."
The latest forecast calls for Saturday to be mostly cloudy with a high near 46.
For Saturday night into early Sunday, there is an 80 percent chance of rain showers before 11 p.m., then rain and snow showers likely between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m., then snow showers after 1 a.m. The snow could be heavy at times overnight, with a low around 26.
On Sunday, there is a 90 percent chance of snow showers and sleet before 2 p.m., then snow showers, freezing rain and sleet between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m., followed by snow showers and freezing rain after 5 p.m., with a high near 34. The sleet could be heavy at times.
Snow showers are expected mainly before 7 p.m. Sunday as the storm system begins to move away, with a low around 26.
Wimberley said it was still too early to predict precipitation totals, although that will come if a winter storm watch is issued.
Then on Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, it will be sunny with a high near 42.
Forecasters are watching a cold front that will cross the region from the northwest Thursday night, bringing some snow to the North Carolina mountains.
A strengthening low pressure system developing over the Plains and into the Mississippi Valley on Saturday will cross the Carolinas on Sunday.
"There is confidence the storm is going to pass close enough to us to create precipitation, but the precipitation type is uncertain," Wimberley said.
Wimberley noted that a winter storm watch soon may be issued.
Contact Bob Montgomery at firstname.lastname@example.org
This article originally appeared on Herald-Journal: Here's the weekend snow storm forecast for Spartanburg County SC