Published: 2008-01-15 07:47:00
Updated: 2008-01-16 01:07:11
Posted January 15, 2008 7:47 a.m. EST
Updated January 16, 2008 1:07 a.m. EST
Raleigh, N.C. — The Triangle could see a wintry mix Thursday morning before up to a half-an-inch of rain falls in the afternoon, WRAL meteorologists predicted. Temperatures will wither when an Arctic blast blows in this weekend.
"Areas like Roxboro and Burlington could see a couple of inches (of snow), but here in the Triangle, it will be rain, sleet and snow, with temperatures just above freezing – a very little problem," WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel said. "Then, for everybody, (it'll be) turning to rain."
Moisture moving north from the Gulf of Mexico into Texas and Louisiana on Tuesday was expected to track into North Carolina by Thursday morning. Along the way, colder temperatures will turn the rain into frozen precipitation that will fall on Georgia, South Carolina and western North Carolina.
"This is where the next trouble is coming from," WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel said.
The National Weather Service had issued winter-weather watches for 31 counties by Tuesday night. The watches extended from late Wednesday night through Thursday afternoon.
Alamance and Person counties were among those under a winter weather watch.
"Here in the Triangle area, my gut tells me this isn't going to be a big deal," Fishel said. "The warming aloft is going to be so rapid."
Areas north and west of the Triangle will likely see winter weather on Thursday morning. The cut-off line for wintry precipitation will likely be just north of the Triangle, cutting through Oxford and northern Durham and Orange counties.
North of the line, it "may be snowing and even accumulating," with Raleigh getting "a mixed bag briefly," Fishel said. Any wintry precipitation that falls in the Triangle, though, is not expected to create any accumulations.
Slight variations could easily change that situation, WRAL's Elizabeth Gardner noted.
"The Triangle area could be right on the border," Gardner said. "If it moves slightly eastward, we could see more impact on the morning commute. If it moves slightly west, very few people in our viewing area could see wintry precipitation."
Thursday morning's ride to work could get "tricky" throughout the Triangle, Gardner said.
"With the precipitation arriving around or just before the morning rush hour, this storm has the potential for a significant impact during the morning commute," the NWS advised in its statement for counties further west. "In addition, this storm is the first notable winter storm of the season, and it has been some time since many residents have traveled in wintry weather."
Only rain, though – not a wintry mix – will be coming down for the evening commute Thursday, meaning the Triangle could get a good soaking from the storm. Up to 0.5 inches of rain could fall in the afternoon, WRAL Meteorologist Mike Maze predicted.
The storm system will pull out through the evening, leaving mostly cloudy skies by 8 p.m.
“It’s going to be one of those cold rains,” Gardner said. "Hopefully, we'll get a good dose of rain out of this. Right now, that's what it looks like will happen."
Residents should bundle up this week as cold temperatures and breezy conditions persist into the weekend. On Thursday, temperatures were not predicted to get above 39 degrees.
Temperatures will drop into the low 20s on Tuesday night, and the lows will stay in the low 30s through Friday night. Then, an Arctic blast will blow in, bringing temperatures down to a low of 16 degrees on Saturday night.
"We might even have trouble getting above freezing on Sunday," Fishel said. "And that doesn't happen often in North Carolina."
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