Good Dose of Snow Possible This Weekend

Saturday will start with rain and could end being one of the most significant snowfalls the Triangle area has seen in years.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Anywhere from 1 to 3 inches of snow could fall in the Triangle Saturday, WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel said Friday evening, with more accumulation likely in areas to the south and east of Raleigh.

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning is in effect for much of the Triangle and surrounding areas, including Orange, Durham, Wake, Wilson, Nash, Vance, Chatham, Lee and Johnston counties.

And a winter weather advisory is in effect for counties farther to the south and west, including Cumberland, Hoke, Harnett and Wayne, Sampson and Moore counties.

The combination of cold air from the north and an upper-level disturbance tapping into moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, though, will likely bring rain early Saturday morning, turn into snow by the late afternoon and continue falling until late Saturday night, according to WRAL's latest WeatherScope computer model.

But WeatherScope continued a trend Friday night of pushing the highest snowfall totals to the south and east, diminishing snowfall amounts in the Triangle area from 2 to 4 inches projected earlier Friday to 1 to 3 inches.

"If that trend were to continue, then Raleigh could end up not getting a whole lot," Fishel said. "But I really think we're going to get at least an inch or two of snow in the Triangle, no matter how this turns out."

Temperatures Saturday are forecast to reach the mid- to upper 30s and are expected fall below freezing as evening approaches and fall into the low to mid-20s before daybreak Sunday.

After initially melting, snow is forecast to begin to accumulate on most surfaces Saturday afternoon. Temperatures Sunday are not expected to warm much above freezing, which could mean slick spots on the roads through early Monday morning.

State Department of Transportation crews went out on major roads Friday to lay down salt brine that discourages ice formation on pavement, and crews checked their plowing equipment and made some runs to get familiar with roads they would be assigned to plow.

The threat of winter weather has already prompted some cancellations. The Wake County school system has canceled all athletic events, practices and games for Saturday. Also, Durham's Martin Luther King Parade, scheduled for Saturday, has been postponed until noon Feb. 2. Click here to view a complete listing of closings and delays.

WRAL meteorologists said they did not expect freezing rain or sleet with this storm, which means power outages, if any, should be isolated.

If forecast amounts materialize Saturday, it could be one of the significant snowfalls recorded at Raleigh-Durham International Airport since Feb. 15-17, 2004, when 2.7 inches fell.

If it snows Saturday, please send us your photos and file a report on conditions in your area.

WRAL News will have meteorologists tracking the storm all day Saturday and reporters in the field to bring you the latest updates on air and online.

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