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Weather advisory issued for Saturday as rain could turn to snow

Posted February 15, 2013

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— The National Weather Service has issued a Saturday winter weather advisory for counties in and around the Triangle as light rain expected to fall in the late afternoon could turn to snow.

The advisory is in effect from 4 p.m. Saturday to 4 a.m. Sunday for Wake, Johnston, Durham, Person, Granville, Vance, Warren, Halifax, Franklin, Nash, Edgecombe, Wilson, Harnett, Wayne, Scotland, Hoke, Cumberland and Sampson counties.

But WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel said a blanketing of the white stuff is unlikely.

"There's a lot of things that can go wrong with this system if you're a snow lover," Fishel said. 

Friday's sunny skies and temperatures in the 60s offered no hint of the precipitation expected to fall Saturday evening. No significant accumulations are expected; the forecast calls for a trace to 1 inch of snow for the region.

Cool temperatures will become cold throughout the day Saturday, allowing rain to change over to snow during the evening hours. As the front approaches, the cold air behind it will combine with moisture from a low pressure system off the North Carolina coast.

The timing of the front's arrival will be key in how much snow the Triangle sees.

"Classically, this is a cold-air-chases-the-moisture setup," said WRAL meteorologist Nate Johnson. "At some point, the rain will change over to snow, from west to east, as the precipitation is coming to an end."

Trooper: Stay off roads if things turn icy Sunday Trooper: Stay off roads if things turn icy Sunday

Rocky Mount, Roanoke Rapids and other towns north and east of the Triangle have the greatest chance of snow accumulation, he said.

"If you want to play in it – probably not," Johnson said of the snowfall. "But if you want to see it fall, we're confident you'll see that tomorrow."

The wet snow could be enough to cause icy spots on the roads early Sunday morning, when temperatures will be slow to rise from freezing overnight.

"Temperatures here at the ground could easily be above freezing during much, if not this entire event, which would nullify the chance of it causing any road problems during the day tomorrow," Fishel said. "Tomorrow night, with the leftover water on the streets and temperatures going down into the 20s ... that really may be the bigger issue with this system, not so much the snow accumulation."

Because rain will fall before any snow, state and local transportation officials said they won't send out trucks to brine the roads ahead of time. However, spreader operators will be on standby Saturday, in case the weather forecast worsens.

Trooper Scott Baker with the North Carolina Highway Patrol said he hopes not to see a repeat of the wintry mix that caused slippery roads last month, leading to hundreds of accidents.

WRAL Weather team WRAL WeatherCenter Forecast

"You have more calls than you have troopers," Baker said. "We handle the most serious calls we can."

Todd McGowan, owner of Haddock Collision Center in Cary, said the icy roads on Jan. 25 meant an uptick in business at his garage.

"I would probably guess 300 (damaged vehicles) directly attributable to that ice storm," he said. 

The Highway Patrol is urging drivers to stay off the roads if conditions get slick.

"Stay inside," Baker said. "If you do go out, exercise caution."

Highs Sunday will climb into the low 40s under abundant sunshine. 

Average temperatures will return early next week, with daytime highs topping out in the low 50s for most of the work week.

62 Comments

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  • Nancy Feb 15, 7:53 p.m.

    "ok people ...stay calm...until I get to the store for my bread, milk and diet coke. that is all..." - happygirl

    LOL :)

  • HappyGirl08 Feb 15, 7:43 p.m.

    And also....please call the national weather service and tell them they forgot to include my portion of Chatham County in the weather advisory. I'm sure it was an oversite!

  • HappyGirl08 Feb 15, 7:42 p.m.

    ok people ...stay calm...until I get to the store for my bread, milk and diet coke. that is all...

  • Uhavenoclu Feb 15, 7:39 p.m.

    There is a saying: we born and bred here know that if you don't like the weather in North Carolina, wait five minutes!

    That is what they say in every state ...Hey the worst winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.

  • highvolt1 Feb 15, 7:25 p.m.

    Breaking News..............A flake of has been sighted.

  • Uhavenoclu Feb 15, 7:23 p.m.

    Weather advisory issued for Saturday as rain could turn to snow

    Nice headline but you forgot could turn to snow with a chance of possibly being hit by a meteor, opr astoroid,or risk of fire disabling the toilets and long lines at HT for bread and milk.

  • chrisdebra2 Feb 15, 7:22 p.m.

    There is a saying: we born and bred here know that if you don't like the weather in North Carolina, wait five minutes!

  • Uhavenoclu Feb 15, 7:00 p.m.

    Uh oh,better go out of state for the weekend...heavy rain and onwe snowflake they shut the state down before it even gets here.

  • golfin69 Feb 15, 6:36 p.m.

    @Uh huh dats right, it was Tuesday Aberdeen Area I always check the weekend ahead normally Monday or Tuesday so I can plan accordingly and its just frustrating when you pull up the forecast and it says 55 and two days later its not even close to what was put out there, you look see it was suppose to be decent so you start making plans then Friday Morning rolls around and its changed to a terrible day for outdoor activities. I know the weather is unpredictable but come on...

  • robertbsmith1 Feb 15, 6:28 p.m.

    It seems that anytime that there is rain or snow that it is portrayed as the end of the world. Why is a little rain or a snow flake a major news event? Guess we all better get milk, bread and eggs and go underground until the crisis passes. Maybe the government will tell me what to do!!!!!!!

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