Published: 2015-01-13 05:30:00
Updated: 2015-01-14 02:14:35
Posted January 13, 2015
Updated January 14, 2015
Raleigh, N.C. — School systems in Wake, Durham, Orange, Cumberland, Johnston and other counties will operate on a two-hour delay Wednesday morning as a storm system capable of causing icy roads moves through the state.
Central North Carolina is under a winter weather advisory until noon Wednesday, meaning conditions are right for ice accumulation from a trace to .20 inches across the area as overnight lows dip to the low 30s.
The most significant precipitation is likely between midnight and 4 a.m., in areas north and east of Raleigh.
By 11 p.m. Tuesday, heavy rain was falling in Rocky Mount and areas of Edgecombe and Halifax counties, and ice was starting to build up on elevated surfaces where temperatures were at or below freezing.
Rocky Mount, Goldsboro and Greenville could see anywhere from .10 inches to .24 inches of frozen precipitation.
"In Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, we're talking about mist, at worst, which isn't going to cause any ice accumulations," WRAL chief meteorologist Greg Fishel said. "It could cause some slick spots on elevate road surfaces, so you still need to be very careful."
A trace up to .10 inches of frozen precipitation is still possible for the area, as well as Fayetteville and other parts of central North Carolina.
"It's just basically mist – light rain and drizzle – but just that little bit can cause icy patches, especially on bridges," Fishel said. "That means you're not going to have power outages, but it doesn’t mean there's not potential trouble on the roadways tomorrow, especially those bridges."
By 2 a.m., the precipitation moved to the northeastern part of the state as temperatures remained at or below freezing across central North Carolina. There may be a few patches of freezing drizzle throughout the night, but it won't take much for icy patches to form on roads, Fishel said.
Motorists should be careful on the roads until about 10 a.m. when temperatures reach above freezing, Fishel said.
As of Tuesday night, more than 550 schools, day cares, businesses and government agencies had reported closings or delays for Wednesday. (View the complete list of closings and delays._
Among other school systems announcing two-hour delays were Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, as those in Franklin, Granville, Hoke, Person, Wayne and Wilson counties. North Carolina State University canceled all classes meeting before 11 a.m. Wednesday, and schools in Harnett County will be closed.
Afternoon temperatures Wednesday are expected to climb into the upper 30s, although clouds will stay put throughout the bulk of the day Wednesday. Sunshine is forecast to return on Thursday and linger through the weekend as highs return to the upper 40s and low 50s.
Although power outages were unlikely by Tuesday night, Duke Energy officials said they were monitoring the timing of the precipitation and temperatures.
"Right now, we're not expecting widespread outages across our system, but that could change," spokesman Jeff Brooks said. "So we're going to keep a close eye on it – a few miles and a few degrees could make a big difference when it comes to ice. We'll be vigilant. Our crews are on alert."
Brooks said residents, however, should be prepared in case they lose power.
"Make sure your cellphones are charged, make sure you have a plan of action in case you're out a couple of hours," he said.