State News

Sleet Predicted to Turn to Rain Overnight

Posted February 21, 2008 8:13 a.m. EST
Updated February 21, 2008 11:33 p.m. EST

— Sleet that began falling Thursday night prompted some schools to announce delayed openings Friday morning, when rain might make streets slushy and slick in some isolated spots.

"It's chilly out there, and moisture's on its way," WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel said Thursday evening.

The sleet began falling by 7 p.m. in Raleigh, some parts of Chapel Hill and Cary. Viewers reported that sleet was sticking to surfaces in Rocky Mount, Wake Forest and parts of Chatham, Granville, Franklin, Vance and Wilson counties late Thursday.

That sleet, however, was forecast to turn into rain overnight in the Triangle and eastern North Carolina. Some places in the northern parts of WRAL's viewing area could see icy patches on the roads Friday morning.

WRAL News will get an early start at 4:30 a.m. Friday to cover the winter weather.

"There could be a small strip from southern Virginia through the Triad, including parts of our northern counties, that could see some light icing," WRAL Meteorologist Mike Maze said. "It’s a possibility we could see some glazing on bridges and overpasses, which would make traveling hazardous late tonight and towards tomorrow morning.

"(For) the rest of us, from the Triangle south, it should all be rain, and then you’ll just have wet roads to deal with."

Temperatures at Raleigh-Durham International Airport had dropped to 37 degrees by 5 p.m., and that reading held through the evening. It was expected to linger just above freezing overnight.

Two moisture-bearing systems were expected to move to the north and south of the Triangle, keeping most wintry precipitation from the region.

"They seem to be splitting and leaving us empty in the middle, with just light rain," WRAL Meteorologist Mike Maze said.

The National Weather Service issued a hazardous-weather outlook for the Triangle and surrounding counties. Sleet will fall only briefly and not cause accumulation, the NWS predicted.

The NWS issued a winter weather advisory for counties – including Alamance, Granville, Person, Vance and Warren – north and west of the Triangle from 9 p.m. Thursday through 9 a.m. Friday.

"That has been issued because of the threat of some icing that would take place with some freezing rain" Friday morning, Maze said. However, "if that moisture to the south isn't transported far enough north, there won't be that threat."

In all, 34 counties could expect some precipitation lasting through Friday afternoon. Rain could linger into Saturday morning before temperatures warm slightly into the 50s.

An NWS advisory is the first of three categories used by the weather service – advisory, watch and warning – as events become more certain and conditions deteriorate. The National Weather Service's terms are available to the public.