A major early season winter storm is about to bring historic snowfall to some parts of NC a once in generation event. All indications of a major winter storm impacting NC is still on track this morning, major accumulations of snow and sleet is expected across a wide part of central and western NC. Now is the time to prepare for power outages and expect travels problems starting early Sunday morning, hundreds of thousands could see power outages once this storm is done. Preparations should be finalized today by night fall. The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for all of NC Raleigh west, and a Winter Weather Advisory from east of Raleigh to i95 for some minor accumulations early before changing to rain.
Overnight and this morning the agreement among models still show a major snow-event, I have adjusted some of snow and sleet totals on our new forecast map. I think we will see more sleet and freezing rain mixing, many signs are suggesting that. This is very common for NC snow storms. There is a renewed threat of significant icing over the central part of the state see image two, Freezing rain in a corridor of the Southern and Eastern Piedmont region say from south Greensboro Guilford County- Troy and Albemarle to Raleigh to Roanoke Rapids.
Starting West to East: 14-20" Pink Area (Ashe Watauga Wilkes Surry Avery Mitchell Upper Caldwell) 1 foot or more is expected here, a major snowfall. Great news for the Ski resorts! Major travel impacts are expected.
8-12" Purple Area- Foothills and Southern Mountains, Mostly snow will fall over these areas, major impacts due to snowfall expected prepare. There still may be some sleet or even freezing rain mix in. But due to mostly snowfall expected and given 1.5-2.0 inches of liquid at 10:1 ratio (1inch of rain/ equal 10inches of snow) would equal 15-20 inches of snow. However once compaction is factored in and non- frozen ground should help limit snowfall to around 8-12" locally higher where banding sets up!
4-8" Blue Area- Triad, North of Charlotte, North of Durham, and South and West of Asheville. Snowfall amounts will be cut even more here due to sleet and some freezing rain. Generally 4-8" with highest amounts north and west here.
2-4" Light Blue: Triangle, Charlotte red outline area. This area is where the rain/ snow line is going to set up, inside the red outline. A forecasting nightmare basically all types of winter weather is expected: Snow, Sleet, Freezing Rain, and just plain rain even. Where the line sets up determines your actual amount of snowfall, models remain all over the place here. Major icing cannot be ruled out here.
The freezing rain threat has been slowly increasing overnight for the central part of the state say from Greensboro to Raleigh. Freezing rain in a corridor of the Southern and Eastern Piedmont region say from south Greensboro Guilford County- Troy and Albemarle to Raleigh to Roanoke Rapids. Models are having a hard time with CAD (Cold air damming) For Sunday afternoon 1-2 degrees can make the difference of a major ice storm or just rain. On top of freezing 2-4" of snow will also fall making the potential for widespread power outages possible. Below is the my freezing rain map, will be updating every few hours to adjust to new models!
Bottom Line: A classic and potentially historic Winter Storm is now a day away from hitting NC. Now is the time to start preparing for power outages and to be stuck in your house for a few days, if you are from Durham and points west. A long duration event lasting from late tonight through Monday afternoon very uncommon for NC more a Midwest storm!
Due to this type of situation more impacts and higher totals than usual looks likely. The potential for icing is also looking more likely as models continue to run.
Now is a great time to start preparing, for major impacts to your daily life. Stay tuned for more updates. Stay with North Carolina's Weather Authority throughout the week trust in me I got you covered, Don't hesitate to message with questions on our Facebook page.