Published: 2010-03-02 05:30:00
Updated: 2010-03-03 16:52:46
Posted March 2, 2010 5:30 a.m. EST
Updated March 3, 2010 4:52 p.m. EST
Raleigh, N.C. — A wintry mix of snow, sleet and rain moving eastward across North Carolina is expected to change over to completely snow overnight.
"Midnight into the wee hours of the morning is when we have the best chance of seeing accumulating snow (in the Triangle)," WRAL chief meteorologist Greg Fishel said.
A winter storm warning remains in effect until noon Wednesday for counties including Durham, Edgecombe, Orange and Wake.
Sleet coated Fayetteville and Raeford, while viewers in Enfield, Shoeheel and Whitakers saw snowflakes Tuesday.
The wintry mix caused some problems in Nash County, where 2 inches of snow fell by 9 p.m. The state Highway Patrol responded to more than a dozen wrecks there during the evening commute.
“I hit a piece of black ice that I didn't see and lost control of the vehicle,” motorist Matt Richert said after wrecking his vehicle on U.S. Highway 64.
U.S. Highway 64 in Nash County was particularly troublesome as cars slid into ditches and guardrails, keeping tow truck drivers busy.
“I love it. Somebody’s got to capitalize (on the snow). Might as well be me,” said Al Staton, with Advantage Towing.
Elsewhere in the state, troopers said they responded to 217 calls in a 14-county region surrounding Raleigh. There were no reports of serious injuries.
The potential for winter precipitation varied widely across the central part of the state, Fishel said. Radar showed an area of snow extending from the Piedmont into northern South Carolina.
Chatham and Alamance counties reported 2 inches of snowfall by late Tuesday. Snow was also starting to fall in Durham.
“Oh my goodness, it's very strange that it's snowing a week before spring break,” Duke University student Tyler Atwood said.
“I’m ready for springtime. I’ve had enough of this snow,” N.C. State University student Courtney Fox said.
In the Triangle, up to 3 inches of snow could accumulate, mainly on grassy surfaces, Fishel said.
“It’s is likely everyone in the WRAL viewing area will see some snow overnight,” WRAL meteorologist Mike Maze said.
Overnight, temperatures were expected to hover around freezing, but the warmth of the ground temperature will inhibit accumulation, Fishel said. Snow showers and flurries could linger Wednesday morning.
“By the morning commute, there could still be some light snow,” Maze said.
In anticipation of slushy roads, several school systems, including Durham, Chatham, Cumberland, Edgecombe, Franklin and Hoke are operating on a 2-hour delay Wednesday morning.
Wake County schools plan to make a decision early Wednesday.
The snow will likely be out of the viewing area by noon. Wednesday will be breezy, cold with rain sprinkles possible.
"If you are tired of the snow and the cold ... Saturday and Sunday look brighter and warmer, with temperatures in the upper 50s to low 60s," Maze said.