Cold rain, not flakes, likely in Triangle Saturday

Posted December 4, 2009 6:15 a.m. EST
Updated December 4, 2009 11:10 p.m. EST

— Clouds moved in to the Triangle Friday afternoon, but the chance for snow over the weekend seems slight.

"It just doesn't appear that things are going to get cold enough quick enough here for us to have any big problems with snow around these parts," WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel said.

Saturday simply looks messy and raw. "It is really not going to be a nice day," WRAL meteorologist Nate Johnson said.

Saturday will see a big batch of cold air from the Midwest converge with an upper-level disturbance and moisture from the southeast over North Carolina by mid-afternoon.

“That cold air banked up on the other side of the mountains will pour into North Carolina,” Johnson said. “Just how quickly the cold catches up with the rain will determine who sees snow.”

The surface temperature is sure to stay above freezing, Fishel said, limiting the degree to which precipitation can change to sleet or snow.

Central North Carolina will first see drizzle and light rain overnight into Saturday morning. The rain will get stronger during the day, and areas east of Interstate 95 could get up to an inch of rain.

After starting in the mid 40s, temperatures Saturday will fall throughout the day, dropping into the upper 20s during the night.

As the freezing temperatures move in, however, the precipitation will be moving out to the north and east, leaving the slightest chance for some flakes during the transition near the Virginia border.

“By Saturday evening, by 8 p.m., the party’s over,” Johnson said. “It will be turning cold, but that's about it.”

With overnight temperatures dipping below freezing Saturday, any rain left on the roads could create slick spots on bridges or overpasses, he warned.

Sunday will see a repeat of the cold, but the sun returns, and highs will be in the mid to upper 40s.