Snow turns to rain in NC

Posted December 16, 2010 4:16 a.m. EST
Updated December 16, 2010 2:34 p.m. EST

— Snowflakes that fell in the pre-dawn hours of Thursday gradually changed to a wintry mix and then rain as a weather system moved east across the state.

Hundreds of schools and businesses canceled or delayed opening, amid fears that the winter storm could cause a messy morning commute.

A trace to an inch of snow coated the Triangle, and farther north, near the Virginia border, as much as 2½ inches of snow were reported.

About four hours after flakes started falling, though, the snow began to change into a wintry mix.

Freezing rain created a glaze over already-fallen snow, pushing down accumulations. Rain remained in the forecast into Thursday evening, but WRAL meteorologist Mike Maze said that any precipitation that falls would be spotty light rain or drizzle.

With temperatures dipping into the mid to low 30s overnight, there is a danger of black ice forming and creating a problem with drivers around daybreak on Friday morning, Maze said.

Friday will be precipitation-free and milder, with a high in the mid 40s.

On Saturday, the temperatures will drop back into the 30s, and a small chance of rain or snow returns.

"If we have precipitation, it is likely to change over to snow Saturday night. But that's iffy right now," WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said. "That system may miss us to the east."

Most weather models show the weather system moving too far off the coast to affect central North Carolina.