Despite winter storm watch, chances for snow event decrease

Posted January 19, 2016
Updated January 20, 2016

— Winter weather is headed to parts of central and eastern North Carolina late Thursday night, but WRAL Chief Meteorologist is predicting that the storm won’t be as strong as initially anticipated.

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm watch Wednesday afternoon for much of central North Carolina, beginning late Thursday night until Saturday at 6 p.m.

WRAL chief meteorologist Greg Fishel said southern Virginia, Maryland and even Pennsylvania will see intense snowfall, but he is cautiously optimistic about the forecast for the Triangle.

“There’s a chance we can get out of this without major problems but there’s just too much risk to ignore,” he said.

Fishel initially believed that the precipitation would begin falling Friday morning in the form of snow, but said that now the most likely scenario is for sleet and freezing rain that will transition to plain rain later in the day Friday.

“I just do not think there’s a way that we can pull a big snowstorm out of this in the Triangle,” Fishel said.

Highs on the final day of the work week will be in the upper 30s.

The chances for significant snowfall on Saturday have also decreased, according to Fishel. He explained that once the main area of moisture passes by on Friday, it falls apart, preventing anything more than flurries from falling.

Fishel said that even though it appears as though weather models show the system trending away from being a major snow event for the Triangle, there is still a possibility that things could change if the storm’s track shifts.

“There’s still just enough potential to make me nervous,” he said.

With the potential for frozen precipitation, the N.C. Department of Transportation says work crews in two divisions covering 10 central counties are standing by to begin treating roads with anti-icing material.

The area will clear out on Sunday as temperatures return to the mid-40s, and the Triangle could be in the 50s on Monday under partly cloudy skies.


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  • Ray Pettiford Jan 21, 2016
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    I trust Greg; however, I cannot agree that we are dodging a bullet when he says we will not get a lot of snow, but we will get freezing rain and sleet. Freezing rain and sleet is much more problematic than snow. Ice covered surfaces cause muscle sprains and broken bones, and that's before we can get to our vehicles.

  • Adrienne Pittman Jan 21, 2016
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    I also remember that they said we weren't going to get anything and we got 22 inches on snow in Jan of 2000. Seems like to me you are still listening to them if you are commenting on their weather report smh

  • Doug Bradley Jan 20, 2016
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    View quoted thread

    Yeah I remember when they called for more than 22 inches the first weekend of December in 2000 and we got nothing. Elizabeth Gardner said on the Saturday 11pm newscast that we would have 8 inches on the ground Sunday morning with more to come and it was sunny and nothing fell. I stopped listening to them after that.

  • Ryan Kurtz Jan 20, 2016
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    It's just way too hard to predict winter weather in Raleigh/Durham, this is a major transition zone and I feel for the meteorologists trying to forecast snow/ice/rain every winter for this area.

  • Jason Pierce Jan 20, 2016
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    Models have shifted south for this weekend. This is gonna be a bigger headache then they are letting on. You've been warned!!!!!!!!

  • Scott Scheffel Jan 19, 2016
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    Let the closings/cancellations before a flake hits the ground begin!! Don't forget the Beer on your shopping list!! Heck you don't even need ice just set it outside!!

  • Janet Ghumri Jan 19, 2016
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    Gotta keep up with the forecast, Greg Fishel is the man when it comes to winter/hurricane weather! I have seen him call it, when the other stations have missed it completely (22 inches Jan 2000?/2001?) It's not official, unless it's Greg Fishel!

  • Janet Ghumri Jan 19, 2016
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    Snow Cream, hot chocolate with marshmallows, pancakes, popcorn, movies, board games and a crackling fire. .... I'm getting in the spirit now!
    It makes me laugh when the 'transplants' complain that everything shuts down when it snows here. I love it, waking up and having a surprise day off! Snuggling up, playing games, enjoying time together, THAT'S what I love! (I just hope the power doesn't go out. .... that makes it a little less fun, but it's still better than a regular work day!)

  • Tandy Dawgy Jan 19, 2016
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  • Sonja Yagel Jan 19, 2016
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    Milk for snow cream, bread for sandwiches if the power goes out. Southern tradition for generations past. Have chickens on hand for eggs, got that covered too