‘Ma­jor win­ter storm’ could hit Tri­an­gle this week­end

The Herald Sun - - Local - BY AB­BIE BEN­NETT aben­[email protected]­sob­server.com

A “ma­jor win­ter storm” is fore­cast to move through cen­tral North Carolina this week­end into Mon­day, which could mean snow, ice, heavy rain or all there, the Na­tional Weather Ser­vice said Thurs­day.

“A strong storm sys­tem will move across the South­east U.S. this week­end, bring­ing a high like­li­hood of win­try pre­cip­i­ta­tion and sig­nif­i­cant im­pacts to cen­tral NC,” the weather ser­vice said.

While me­te­o­rol­o­gists are call­ing for 12 inches of snow or more in the Char­lotte area and farther west, fore­casts are still too un­cer­tain to say whether the Tri­an­gle will get rain, snow, ice or some com­bi­na­tion.

The weather ser­vice is­sued a win­ter storm watch for much of Western North Carolina on Thurs­day and it ex­tended into cen­tral North Carolina on Thurs­day evening.

Fore­cast­ers said the western half of the Tri­an­gle – in­clud­ing Or­ange and Durham coun­ties – could see 4 to 8 inches of snow and ice.

“A de­vel­op­ing win­ter storm will spread pre­cip­i­ta­tion across cen­tral NC late Satur­day and Satur­day night with ac­cu­mu­lat­ing snow, sleet and freez­ing rain likely be­gin­ning early Sun­day. While many de­tails are un­known at this time, con­fi­dence has in­creased such that a Win­ter Storm Watch is ap­pro­pri­ate” for ar­eas in­clud­ing Win­ston-Salem, Greens­boro, High Point, Burling­ton, the Re­search Tri­an­gle, Chapel Hill, Car­rboro, Durham and more, the weather ser­vice said.

“Sig­nif­i­cant ac­cu­mu­la­tions of snow com­bined with sleet and freez­ing rain is ex­pected. To­tal snow ac­cu­mu­la­tions of 4 to 8 inches com­bined with ice ac­cu­mu­la­tions of up to one-tenth of an inch are pos­si­ble. The great­est snow amounts are likely to be in the Triad, where amounts could ap­proach 10 inches,” the weather ser­vice said.

While it’s hard to say how much, if any, snow or ice ac­cu­mu­la­tion Raleigh and Eastern North Carolina will see, that doesn’t mean there won’t be prob­lems.

Travel haz­ards are ex­pected, es­pe­cially on Sun­day, and power out­ages are pos­si­ble through­out the cen­tral part of the state as soggy soil, snow or ice ac­cu­mu­la­tion and gusty winds reach­ing as high as 30 mph could cause downed trees or power lines.

“Travel is likely to be very dif­fi­cult Sun­day into Mon­day. Even in lo­ca­tions with lesser snow ac­cu­mu­la­tions, the po­ten­tial for ac­cu­mu­la­tions of sleet and freez­ing rain will im­pact travel,” the weather ser­vice said.

As much as 2 inches of

‘‘ EVERY­ONE NEEDS TO BE READY FOR COLD TEM­PER­A­TURES, HAZ­ARDOUS DRIV­ING CON­DI­TIONS AND THE POS­SI­BIL­ITY OF POWER OUT­AGES. Gov. Roy Cooper

rain could fall in some ar­eas, which could cause flood­ing, the weather ser­vice said.

The storm, which was mov­ing over Louisiana on Thurs­day, was ex­pected to track to­ward the Caroli­nas Satur­day and Sun­day, ABC11 me­te­o­rol­o­gist Don Sch­wen­neker said.

Clouds will be­gin to

thicken across the Tri­an­gle ahead of the storm on Satur­day and a win­tery mix of rain, snow and sleet is ex­pected to ar­rive late Satur­day, con­tin­u­ing on Sun­day and pos­si­bly into Mon­day.

“Travel could be­come slip­per and treach­er­ous across the Tri­an­gle,” Sch­wen­neker said.

Gov. Roy Cooper on Thurs­day urged North Carolini­ans to fol­low the storm’s fore­cast closely.

“The fore­cast is still evolv­ing, but we know that parts of the state are fac­ing the po­ten­tial for sev­eral inches of snow, and other forms of win­ter pre­cip­i­ta­tion will also be a threat,” Cooper said in a news re­lease.

“Every­one needs to be ready for cold tem­per­a­tures, haz­ardous driv­ing con­di­tions and the pos­si­bil­ity of power out­ages.”

State of­fi­cials planned to open the State Emer­gency Op­er­a­tions Cen­ter on Sun­day, ac­cord­ing to the gov­er­nor’s of­fice.

Snow al­ready fell in north­west­ern North Carolina ear­lier this week, so N.C. Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion crews were at work plow­ing high­ways and brin­ing roads.

Crews were brin­ing In­ter­state 40 in the Tri­an­gle on Thurs­day, though state of­fi­cials asked peo­ple to limit travel dur­ing the storm.

Na­tional Weather Ser­vice

Screen grab from the Na­tional Weather Ser­vice at RDU

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