The Triangle area was hit with the second wave of a southern winter storm Thursday afternoon. The storm brought another three to five inches of snow to the Triangle and areas to the south and west.
Forecasters were calling for an additional 1 to 4 inches over much of central North Carolina before midnight Thursday. Granville, Vance and Warren counties could get up to 6 additional inches, for a total of a foot or more, said Gail Hartfield of the National Weather Service in Raleigh.
North Carolinians awoke to snow across the state, causing many schools and businesses to close Thursday.
Wake County, Johnston County, Edgecombe County, Cumberland County, Chatham County, Orange County, Chapel Hill-Carrboro, Wayne County and Durham County Schools announced that they will remain closed to students on Friday.
The N.C. Highway Patrol estimates that hundreds of cars were abandoned after getting stuck in the snow Wednesday night. The snow started Wednesday afternoon but fell most heavily in the evening and overnight.
Forecasters said double-digit snow accumulations were possible by late Thursday along the storm's track from Charlotte to Raleigh.
Burlington, Albemarle, Sanford, Durham and Raleigh could see another 1 to 3 inches of snow Thursday for a total accumulation of 6 to 10 inches, the weather service said.
The southern part of the Charlotte metro area along and south of Interstate 85 will have storm totals ranging between 6 to 8 inches, with a few locations close to 10 inches. Gastonia, Statesville and Salisbury were expected to end up with 3 to 5 inches in all.
Rocky Mount, Roanoke Rapids and Nashville could see an extra 2 to 4 inches of snow Thursday for an accumulation of 4 to 8 inches.
Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Fayetteville and Sanford could see another inch or more to make 4 to 8 inches in all.
Another inch or two is expected in Lenoir and Morganton, leaving a total of up to four inches.
Forecasters predicted a couple of inches of snow at the Outer Banks and at Wilmington by Thursday night as a wintry mix changes all to snow.
About 18,000 North Carolina customers were without power, the majority in the area around Whiteville in Columbus County, where about 9,000 customers had no power, CP&L spokesman Garrick Francis said.
Duke Power spokesman Tom Williams said the utility had "virtually no storm related outages" in its service area from Chapel Hill west to the mountains.
Tom Ditt, a spokesman for the state Division of Emergency Management, said communities appeared able to cope with the snow.
"We've had no requests for assistance from any of the counties across the state,'' he said.
National Guard troops are ready to respond to pleas for help but were still in reserve early Thursday.
State government offices were scheduled to open Thursday, with employees getting in as best they could or taking a day off, Ditt said.