RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – As North Carolina prepares for the biggest winter storm of the season, it won’t be a winter wonderland of snow. Rather, ice and rain continue to be the most dominant types of precipitation expected, beginning during the pre-dawn hours of Sunday.
WINTER WEATHER ALERTS
As of Saturday evening, most of central North Carolina is now under a Winter Storm Warning from midnight tonight through midnight Sunday night. These are the locations where the highest totals and impacts are expected:
For most of the warning area, around 1-2 inches of snow is possible, with some locally higher amounts north and west of the Triangle. Ice accumulations of one-tenth of an inch to possibly three-tenths of an inch could accumulate, leading to downed trees and power outages. Travel could also become an issue due to slick and slippery roads.
Additionally, a Winter Weather Advisory is up for most of the Coastal Plain from midnight tonight through Sunday afternoon. This is where snow totals up to one inch are possible, along with some ice accumulations from one-tenth to two-tenths of an inch. Slippery roads will be possible.
On top of all the cold and wintry mess, winds will be strong with gusts near 40 miles per hour possible.
If you are out Sunday, that will make the already cold temperatures feel more like the teens in the morning and 20s in the afternoon. It will be a good weekend to stay home and stay warm.
The cold air will be in place with temperatures falling into the 20s as we head into the overnight hours tonight. As moisture moves in from the south, a small amount of snow will fall for many in the morning, but don’t expect major accumulations.
We’ll see a transition over to sleet and freezing rain as the morning progresses with gusty winds. You won’t want to spend much time outside as it will be windy and cold as well. Travel could be dangerous due to slick and slippery roads. The snow will quickly turn to ice due to the wind gusts, temperature fluctuation and rain.
Eventually, we’ll see a transition over to a cold rain as we move into the afternoon hours. The system will move out late Sunday night, and while it will be dry Monday morning, temperatures will be cold enough to refreeze some of the moisture on area roads.
BIGGEST QUESTIONS & CONCERNS
Many of the computer models continue to be in good agreement about our forecast and position of the low pressure. If the position of the low changes, the forecast will change, too, but regardless, expect significant impacts from rain, freezing rain, and even snow.
This will likely not be a fun winter storm with lots of snow to go out and play. Instead, ice and freezing rain are looking like the dominant precipitation type and that could cause many problems Sunday morning before changing to rain Sunday afternoon.
Despite the precipitation moving out late Sunday, some issues could still arise on Monday morning, especially ice. If it is cold enough for any moisture to refreeze on the roads, travel could still be slick on Monday morning.
Keep checking back for updates on timing and impacts even when the storm is gone.
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This forecast was prepared by the CBS 17 Storm Team and is based on the latest information available and years of weather forecasting in North Carolina. It was not produced by a computer like many forecasts you find on the web, social media and smart phone apps.