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Snow Turns to Rain Across Triangle

Posted January 17, 2008

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— Snow and ice fell across parts of the Triangle this morning, but quickly turned to rain. The National Weather Service canceled a Winter Weather Advisory for several counties south and east of Raleigh after temperatures crept into the mid-30s.

WRAL Meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner predicted the area could get about a half-inch of rain by the time the storm passes.

Schools in Wake, Johnston, Durham, Orange, Chapel Hill-Carrboro, Warren, Lee and Harnett counties decided to open two hours late as a precaution against slippery roads when their buses would normally have been out.

N.C. State University decided to open at 10 a.m. For a complete list of delays and closings, check the WRAL closing list.

Light snow, sleet and freezing rain were expected to cause travel difficulties this morning, but state Highway Patrol troopers reported mostly wet roads.

North Carolina Department of Transportation crews pre-treated some highways, bridges and overpasses Wednesday afternoon to help keep them from freezing. Elevated roads freeze more quickly because they are surrounded by cold air, even if the ground near them doesn't allow freezing.

The DOT primarily uses salt brine, a mixture of water and 23 percent salt that can be applied to road surfaces before a storm to keep ice from bonding to the road.

Throughout the Triangle, crews were on stand-by, ready to use salt brine trucks as soon as any roads got icy.

“We are flexible and ready to respond to tomorrow’s predicted winter weather,” Katie Kalb, director of Durham's Department of Public Works, said Wednesday in a news release. “We are following weather reports carefully and we will be ready to immediately respond if necessary.”

The state still needs a lot of rain, so the anticipated precipitation should help drought conditions. Raleigh's rainfall deficit was 9.12 inches on Wednesday afternoon. Ed Buchan, with the City of Raleigh, said the city has about 116 days of drinking water left.

Surface temperatures were predicted to rise into the upper 30s in the afternoon. The rain should clear out by the evening commute. Friday is expected to be warm, with temperatures in the mid-50s.

Folks should be prepared for bitter cold temperatures to arrive for the weekend. Sunday morning's predicted low is 16 in Raleigh and Monday's is 14, with the high Sunday only 32..

Got great photos of winter weather? Let the world see them on WRAL.com. Click here to submit photos. And tell us about the weather conditions where you live. Post your observations Thursday morning in the Comments area below.


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  • Space Mountain Jan 17, 2008

    Well, I am right on US1 so this is great! I want some snow! I have been looking at Saturday's forecast all week when they had that high of 39 and low of 19, but rain during the day. I thought there was a shot at some snow if the precip waited and came in late. Looks like I might be right! I sure hope so!

    And since they have not talked about this three days in advance, that means it'll probably be something to it. LOL

  • brian2380 Jan 17, 2008

    The afternoon update said this:

    Climatologically...we have very little icing associated with Miller
    a lows...as we have a narrow transition zone...or rain-snow line.
    The position and timing of this transition zone as it shifts east
    will be the major problem. If the cold air flows in before the rain
    associated with the coastal low lifts out...this early changeover to
    snow could produce advisory or perhaps even warning critera
    snowfall. Pinning the fine details down at this time would likely result in a flip-flopping forecast...thus will opt for a more conservative approach...with a rain/snow mix in the north/northwest in the morning...with the rain mixing with snow eastward as the day progresses. Highs will top out mostly in the 30s...with some lower 40s in the southeast...due to extensive cloudiness and evaporative cooling.

  • mlwest1970 Jan 17, 2008

    NWS just gave Raleigh a 70% shot for a Rain/Snow mix on Saturday.

  • mlwest1970 Jan 17, 2008

    what's funny is out of all the models, he says the NAM was the most aggressive one. NWS just updated their forecast. All rain, but that statement is still up there. Hmmm.

  • Deacons Jan 17, 2008

    I watched his video and he sad the NAM model shows snow down thru raleigh and when the NAM shows a storm u can pretty much bet on it.....we will see.

  • mlwest1970 Jan 17, 2008

    well they've changed their tune so to speak. Like i said, the models will say it's there and then the next run, they'll spit out something different. You run them again after that and they'll say it's there again. Well the potential is there I guess, but once again wait and see what it looks like on Saturday. :)

  • Deacons Jan 17, 2008

    mlwest: thanks

  • mlwest1970 Jan 17, 2008

    Deacons: I got that info from Henry Margusity's Meteo-Madness blog on accuweather. 2nd video in. Long-range map discussion. The forecasts at the moment are all showing rain for our area (I'm in Harnett County). The models that were shown on his video blog, well they suggest otherwise for our area. The GFS had our area under medium blue for Saturday. The low stayed well off the coast meaning winter precip for everyone N/NW/W of the storms edge, i.e. the I-95 corridor. Actually eastern NC had more precip than the triad. Truthfully it had the look of the classic eastern winter storm setup. Also it was a bit odd that the NWS in Raleigh issued that hazardous weather statement. I don't think anyone "official" is biting on this one yet as we have around 48 hours to go here and in 48 hours the models can go all over the place.. One thing to remember though is... we live in NC.

  • Deacons Jan 17, 2008

    Accuweather is talking about a potential storm this weekend but it looks to be west of raleigh....here is the link

  • gopanthers Jan 17, 2008

    Not that today was some breaking news with rain but I had noticed a few times on Radar where the harder rain was falling North and West of Fall's Lake (if that's what the yellows and red's mean on radar). Isn't that a good thing to get water added into Fall's Lake If it rains in those areas?. Granted it only looks like maybe 1/2 inch today but every little bit helps. Who knows their saying maybe more rain on Saturday. Maybe that one will have more moisture to work with huh? I'll keep my fingers and toes and eye's crossed for good luck. LOL