15 NC counties are under alert, including Cumberland, Harnett, Moore, and Hoke counties. Details
Published: 2013-11-26 04:56:00
Updated: 2013-11-26 12:10:47
Posted November 26, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — Temperatures stayed too warm Tuesday morning for snow to develop out of a weather system packed with precipitation that was making a slow march across the state.
"We could see up to three inches of rain by the time this is all over," said WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner.
In Roxboro and parts of Person County, a bit of light wintry precipitation forms a light glaze of ice on trees. Several school systems delayed the start of the day as a precaution.
It is a different story in the western part of the state.
Forecasters at the National Weather Service say an ice storm warning is in effect for Avery, Yancey, Mitchell, McDowell, Henderson, and the Rutherford, Polk and Burke County mountains through midday Tuesday. Although the ice is expected to turn into heavy rain through Tuesday evening, it's expected the rain will change to snow by daybreak Wednesday, with up to four inches expected near the Tennessee line.
The light steady rain falling in Raleigh at noon was just the beginning of a weather roller-coaster that will take the Triangle for a ride over the next 24 hours.
By late afternoon, the cold, wet weather from the west will come into contact with warmer air pushing in from the coast.
"We'll see temperatures skyrocket this evening," Gardner said. "We could be looking at a large temperature difference from the northwest to the southeast with Roxboro seeing upper 40s by 4 p.m., Raleigh around 50, Fayetteville around 60 and Goldsboro in the lower 60s."
The warmer air will create instability in the atmosphere which could spark thunderstorms, some of them severe.
"It will be downright balmy at 1 a.m.," Gardner said. The greatest chance for severe storms with damaging winds comes in counties in the southeast quadrant of the state.
Then Wednesday the cold sweeps back in. Temperatures will be at their warmest in the morning, then fall through the 40s to near 30 degrees as the day goes on. By Wednesday evening, the rain will have passed, leaving chilly but dry weather for Thanksgiving day.