'Lot of question marks' about possibility of weekend snow
Posted January 2
Updated January 3
Raleigh, N.C. — As central North Carolina dries out from a soggy start to 2017, attention shifts to the possibility of snow across the region this weekend.
Computer models show a wide range of snowfall possibilities for Friday into Saturday with some forecasting no snow at all and others showing the potential for more than 6 inches, WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel said.
The system that could bring snow is still over the Pacific Ocean off the Oregon coast, WRAL meteorologist Nate Johnson said, so there hasn't been an opportunity to gather much information on it yet.
Fishel said the potential snow could begin Friday night, but the day to watch is Saturday.
"Anything that falls during the day Friday is going to be light, spotty and insignificant because temperatures will be above freezing," he said.
Saturday, temperatures will be at or below freezing for most of the day, so any winter precipitation that falls would likely stick to roadways.
It's unclear where a low-pressure system will develop off the Southeast coast and how it will move, Johnson said. If the low is farther south, North Carolina might not get any precipitation, he said. If it tracks farther to the west, he said, snow could be limited to the North Carolina mountains, while the Triangle would see only rain.
"A lot of question marks. We'll continue to watch this over the next couple of days," he said.
Gov. Roy Cooper and other Council of State members are scheduled to be inaugurated in downtown Raleigh on Saturday morning, and Cooper said Tuesday he's not worried about the forecast.
"I certainly hope we're not conduct inauguration ceremonies from Emergency Management," he said with a laugh.
Leslie Logan Brown, owner of Logan's One Stop Flower Shop said it is that time of year when plants need to be covered.
"Plants that are tender or recently planted in the ground will need extra protection because they haven't had a chance to get established yet," she said.
Brown recommends using a light-weight bed sheet to cover outdoor plants.
"You don't want to use anything heavy. You want to use something light and breathable so they can still get air circulating under there," Brown said.
The region has already seen plenty of rain since New Year's Day, as the second storm front in as many days moved through central North Carolina Tuesday.
Clearing will continue into Tuesday night, Fishel said, fog will be likely to develop into Wednesday morning because of the moisture in the atmosphere.
When the sun breaks through on Wednesday, it will bring high temperatures in the 60s.
Highs on Thursday and Friday are expected to top out in the 40s, with lows in the 30s. By Saturday, highs will be in the 30s, and temperatures stay cold through the weekend.