Snow, sleet, ice all possible by Saturday

Posted January 28, 2010 5:59 a.m. EST
Updated October 17, 2011 10:23 a.m. EDT

— North Carolina is bracing for a winter storm this weekend with snow, sleet and ice in the forecast. The National Weather Service on Thursday afternoon issued winter storm warnings across the Triangle that run from Friday evening through 12 a.m. Sunday.

Rain is expected to begin late Friday, with conditions rapidly worsening between 8 p.m. and midnight, WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel said.

Fishel said the Friday evening commute should be mostly unaffected.

"We are looking at 12 hours of heavy hitting, between midnight Friday and about noon Saturday," Fishel said of the likelihood for precipitation.

By Saturday morning, Fishel said, the Triangle could see 3 to 5 inches of snow on the ground.

"The big question is do we continue with snow Saturday, or do we turn over to sleet," Fishel said.

The timing of that transition will determine how much accumulation any given area will see. If the changeover is delayed, snow accumulations will run higher, Fishel said.

"Anything that falls from Saturday afternoon into evening will be very, very light," he said.

Precipitation is expected to lighten heading into late Saturday.

The speed with which the storm was moving across the country slowed Thursday afternoon, pushing the chance to see snow back to later Friday.

“Tomorrow (Friday) is your day to make any kind of plans during the day for any snow we may have,” WRAL meteorologist Mike Maze said.

Along with the precipitation come winds and falling temperatures.

"What does fall is going to stick around for a while, so travel’s going to be tough (and) there may be power outages," WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said.

Those planning to travel should consider alternate plans as "travel may become dangerous," according to the weather service.

In anticipation of transportation issues, some schools had already postponed or canceled weekend sporting events.