Over the next few days, an intense rainstorm will drench the Eastern United States, raising the risk of flooding, before cold air sweeps in, potentially bringing snow to some areas for the first time this season.
The same system that dumped heavy rain and caused localized flooding in parts of western North Carolina will track across the mid-Atlantic and New England through Wednesday.
In its wake, a surge of cold air from the nation’s midsection will spill southeast, allowing snow to fall across parts of the South and central Appalachians later this week.
Recent mild weather contributed to dense fog and slow travel Tuesday morning. But the warm, moist air mass also helped fuel the approaching storm after most of the East experienced a cooldown just before Christmas.
Enough rain has already fallen to swell streams and rivers across Georgia, the Carolinas, and southwestern Virginia. Minor to moderate flooding is likely on unprotected banks of waterways like the French Broad, Congaree, and Dan rivers through late week as heavy rain pivots northeast.
The combination of downpours and recent wildfire burn scars may also increase the risk of flash flooding and mudslides in parts of western Virginia and West Virginia.