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Freezing Rain Expected Across Parts of the Carolinas Saturday Night and Sunday Morning

Snow and sleet will be likely Saturday Evening before transitioning to freezing rain during the overnight hours for parts of the Carolinas. Travel is expected to be impacted and power outages will also be possible Sunday.

Winter Storm Watches and Warnings were issued Friday evening in anticipation of the system. As of 8:30 p.m. Friday evening, the counties shaded in pink are under a Winter Storm Warning and counties shaded in blue are under a Winter Storm Watch.

The system is expected to move into the mountain counties Saturday afternoon with snow and sleet falling. Then the moisture will expand eastward into the foothills and locations around I-77 after sunset Saturday. Snow and sleet are possible for areas north of I-85; however, it will quickly change to freezing rain and/or rain.

For areas along and north of I-40, a dusting to 2 inches of snow and sleet is expected from Morganton, Hickory, Statesville, and Winston-Salem. This same area may also see up to a quarter of an inch of freezing rain, which is enough freezing rain to cause travel issues and power outages.

The system is expected to pull away on Saturday afternoon. The future radar below shows the progression of the system from 5:00 p.m. Saturday through 2:00 p.m. Sunday.

18z 1/11/2019 NAM 12km Radar

Most models depict approximately a half of an inch of precipitation from the mountains to the coast, so most areas will see the same amount of precipitation, but it will fall in different forms. Below is my best forecast at the moment for what to expect in your neighborhood.

Areas A and B have the best chance to see accumulating snow, sleet, and freezing rain. Area C is the transition zone where it could go back and forth between snow, sleet, freezing rain, and cold rain. Area D is expected to remain at our just above freezing, so ice accumulations would be light. Area E may start as snow or sleet before changing to a cold rain, with Area F remaining a cold rain.

The main challenge with this forecast is the surface temperatures as high pressure builds in from the north. Models do not handle cold air damming very well, and this system is taking a track that is very difficult to forecast. Therefore, it is possible that temperatures may remain slightly above or below freezing in Areas C and D. Confidence in these regions is relatively low due to the strength of the wedge; however, confidence is relatively high in Areas A, B, E, and F.

If you are planning travel in any area where wintry weather is expected, you may consider postponing your travel plans. If you must travel, be sure to give yourself extra time due to the wintry weather. The good news is temperatures are expected to rise above freezing for the entire Carolinas Sunday afternoon before dropping below freezing again Sunday night and Monday morning. Black ice and poor road conditions are possible again Monday morning.

I will continue to keep you updated with the latest information here on and on my Facebook Page, WxJordan.

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