Triangle could see up to 5 inches of snow by Saturday, as latest winter storm looms

·2 min read

This time, the snow isn’t fooling around.

Forecasters say a winter storm will start as rain Thursday in the Triangle, then build into the familiar wintry mix Thursday night. Things will then kick into gear Friday and dump as much as 5 inches by Saturday morning.

“My confidence for us being covered in white is high,” said Steve Stewart, ABC11 meteorologist.

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for all of central North Carolina. And the Triangle sits in the heart of it, bracing for the second winter blast in less than a week.

Thursday’s rain will turn into a wintry mix overnight as an Arctic cold front moves in.

“There will be an accumulation of something,” said meteorologist Gail Hartfield, describing Friday morning, “but it won’t be a lot.”

Sledders prepare for a topsy-turvy end to their ride on a hill in Durham in 2018. Forecasters call for 3-5 inches across the Triangle this weekend.
Sledders prepare for a topsy-turvy end to their ride on a hill in Durham in 2018. Forecasters call for 3-5 inches across the Triangle this weekend.

‘The colder the air, the fluffier the snow’

Friday offers a short break, but through the afternoon and beyond sundown the snow could fall 3 to 4 inches deep in an area stretching to Roanoke Rapids, by the weather service’s gauge. Stewart called for a possible extra inch, and even more to the northeast.

Normally, Stewart said, the Triangle’s proximity to the ocean gives it a disadvantage snow-wise. But this time, the low-pressure system is staying farther offshore, and the air moving this way is Arctic cold.

“The colder the air,” he said, “the fluffier the snow.”

Further southeast, Garner and Clayton might see a little more freezing rain and develop icy road problems.

With temperatures in the 20s Friday and dipping into the teens overnight, then barely poking above freezing on Saturday, whatever has accumulated won’t quickly vanish.

Sledding options will depend on where you can walk to.

“If you can get out,” Hartfield said. “Wouldn’t recommend driving anywhere.”

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