Snow begins to move into area; some schools closing early

Posted February 11, 2016 5:40 a.m. EST
Updated February 12, 2016 11:03 a.m. EST

— The threat on Friday of wintry weather closed some schools and put the bulk of counties between Raleigh and the coast under winter weather alerts but won't cause many problems during the morning or evening commute.

A weather system drifting in from the west will mix with low pressure forming off the coast of South Carolina to bring a mixed bag of wintry precipitation across the eastern half of the Tar Heel state beginning just before lunchtime. Johnston County Schools and Harnett County Schools announced they will close early on Friday while some schools closed ahead of the storm.

"(The weather) lasts through lunchtime and into early afternoon, and then it's out of here," said WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner. "Skies will clear."

Much of the winter weather will roll through roughly between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., Gardner said. Counties to the north and east of Raleigh have a greater chance of seeing accumulation that could cause hazardous road conditions.

"All this tapers off before the evening commute," Gardner added. "Still, even light amounts could cause slick spots."

Patchy precipitation started dotting the radar around 8:30 a.m., but dry air shielded the ground.

"It's very dry over us right now," Gardner said. "So, these initial bands coming in are probably going to evaporate before they reach the ground."

Precipitation, though, is only one part of the present winter weather: cold temperatures are also lingering.

Temperatures across the region started Friday below freezing, but even those are warmer than the expected low of 15 degrees on Sunday.

"There's places that aren't going to make it above freezing all weekend," Gardner said.

Another winter storm is expected to blow in on Monday, though, as temperatures warm up above freezing, much of the precipitation will be in the form of rain.

The impending weather forced several counties east of the Triangle to close on Friday, including Edgecombe, Nash-Rocky Mount, Wilson and Wayne County Public Schools. Officials said Franklin County Public Schools will operate on a two hour delay.

Lisa Luten, the director of communications for Wake County Schools, said Friday is a previously scheduled early release date for schools. Students’ release times on Friday depend on each individual school’s start time; students will be in school for approximately four hours, Luten said.