Published: 2018-01-16 05:20:00
Updated: 2018-07-13 14:06:45
Raleigh, N.C. — Much of central North Carolina was under a winter storm warning or a winter weather advisory as an approaching weather system with the potential to drop several inches of snow moved closer to the Triangle.
Gov. Roy Cooper on Tuesday evening declared a State of Emergency throughout North Carolina ahead of the storm.
The National Weather Service alerts include a Winter Storm Warning for Wake, Durham, Cumberland and Johnston counties that begins at 4 a.m. Wednesday and extends through Wednesday night. Other counties were under a winter weather advisory, including Gaston, Iredell, Sampson, Wayne and Yancey counties.
Wake, Durham, Cumberland, Johnston and Orange counties all announced classes were canceled Wednesday for students. Several colleges, including Duke University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University, also canceled classes Wednesday.
WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel said the storm could dump 2 to 4 inches of snow from Fayetteville to Raleigh, with isolated areas seeing up to 6 inches of snow.
Snow will begin to edge its way into the Triangle between 4 and 7 a.m., but the latest models showed the system moving slower than originally predicted, meaning more snow could fall for a longer period of time.
"It looks like this system is now going to continue with some vigor into the morning and early afternoon," said Fishel. "Even by 2 o'clock, it looks like it's going to be precipitating pretty aggressively and it looks like it's going to be late afternoon before it settles down.
Temperatures will drop overnight to the high teens as the snow begins, and the air will struggle to break above freezing on Wednesday. DOT crews began preparing major roadways on Monday, but Cooper urged North Carolinians to stay off the roads when possible.
“Unnecessary travel not only puts you at risk, but puts first responders at risk,” Cooper said. “Please stay off the road unless you absolutely have to.”
On Thursday, though, sunny skies and temperatures in the 40s will hunt for any remaining patches of snow.
"If we have anything left on the roads Thursday night, 22 is the low, so we could have some slick spots again on Friday," WRAL meteorologist Aimee Wilmoth said.
The mercury will only rise into the weekend as Friday nudges 50 and Sunday breaks 60 degrees.