Snow depends on how close coastal low comes to NC

Posted December 16, 2010 10:58 p.m. EST
Updated December 17, 2010 12:53 p.m. EST

— Central and coastal North Carolina got a brief respite from winter weather Friday before another round of snow and rain threatens.

All eyes Saturday will be on a coastal low expected to form in the Gulf of Mexico and then track up the East Coast.

"This is one of those really tricky situations. It's a coastal storm, which can always be difficult to predict," WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said.

Coastal lows form rapidly, and until they finally develop, predicting their exact track is difficult. And it's that storm track that will determine whether central North Carolina gets snow Saturday night.

"That's the big question: Is the low going to come close enough to the coast to spread the precipitation across our viewing area? Or is it mainly going to stick to the coast or maybe along and east of Interstate 95?" Gardner said.

Rain will fall in eastern North Carolina during the day Saturday. If the precipitation comes far enough inland, the Triangle region could see a burst of snow late Saturday into early Sunday.

"I would give us a 50-50 shot for that snow on Saturday," Gardner said. "If we have enough moisture come through on Sunday, at least for the Triangle area, it would most likely be snow."

The daylight hours of Sunday and all of Monday appear as if they will be precipitation-free. Highs will stay in the upper 30s and low 40s.

Then, on Tuesday, another weather system again raises the possibility of snow or rain.

"Right now it looks warm enough on Tuesday for just rain, but the way our patterns been lately, we don’t want to take that for granted yet," Gardner said.