FIRST ALERT: Conditions improving, temps coming up after Winter - | WBTV Charlotte

FIRST ALERT: Conditions improving, temps coming up after Winter Weather Advisory

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

12 p.m. Sunday

As of 12 p.m. the Winter Weather Advisory has been allowed to expire and all areas are above freezing. 

The rain will continue for a little bit longer, and it's not going to be warm by any stretch. Most of us will spend the majority of the afternoon in the upper 30s, maybe touching 40 degrees in a few spots.

Rain exits from west to east between about 2-5 p.m. this evening. So by the time you're headed out for game-time festivities roads will still be wet, but temps will be above freezing and it will no longer be raining.

10 a.m. Sunday

We've hit 10 a.m., which is the original expiration if the Winter Weather Advisory, but there are still several areas that are at or below freezing, including Morganton, Shelby, Hickory, Statesville, and Salisbury. As a result, the Advisory has been extended until 12 p.m. 

The ice has been worst in the foothills and Catawba Valley as anticipated. Places like Morganton are reporting iced over bridges and overpasses, with Mountain View in Catawba county reporting some slick roads and sidewalks. 

Roadways still appear to be largely OK throughout the Charlotte metro as we've held steady at 33 degrees all morning. Some areas within the city are reporting a glaze on elevated surfaces. So we've got rain from generally the Charlotte area southeast, and rain in the mountains, with the freezing rain on-going in between. If you live in any of the areas where freezing rain is on-going, please use extreme caution if you must leave your house before the Advisory expires at Noon. Not only while driving, but while stepping out of your door onto porches, decks, and stairs that may be iced over as well.  

Officials say power outages have started as multiple trees have come down across Burke County. There are also reports of multiple wrecks.

8 a.m. Sunday

As of 8 am Sunday morning, as anticipated, even areas that began as snow and sleet are beginning to change over to freezing rain as upper-level warm air moves in. We now have freezing rain falling roughly along and north/west of I-85 with just a plain, cold, rain from the Charlotte area south where the temperature is 33°, having dropped pretty drastically within the last hour. Some areas within the city are reporting a glaze on elevated surfaces, but we have not seen that outside our studios yet.

Another sign of warm air moving in aloft: The Boone temperature continues to rise. So, the mountains will start to change over to rain before the foothills and valleys as colder air remains trapped closer to the ground, with warmer air a few thousand feet up rising temps to above freezing. 

Reports have come in from areas to our southwest where the freezing rain began sooner, and so far the reports indicate the ice coating is mostly on elevated surfaces with trees, leaves, and cars continuing to see the ice glaze grow. 

Now that the sun is up, temperatures should gradually start to rise above freezing over the next few hours. By the latest,  all areas will changeover to rain sometime between 10am - 12pm. As of now the Winter Weather Advisory expires at 10am, but if you live in any of the foothill areas or the Catawba Valley, you may want to give it until Noon just to be safe. If you must leave the house before then please use extreme caution, not only while driving, but while stepping out of your door onto porches, decks, and stairs that may be iced over as well. 

Sunday 6 a.m.

As of 6am Sunday morning, we have had reports of light snow or sleet coming in from the mountains and foothills, including Boone, Linville, and Lenoir. These colder areas will likely see this event begin as a quick burst of snow, before upper-level warm air moves in. Once that happens, rain will begin to fall, but because the lower-levels will still have stubborn cold air in place (that is below freezing) this rain will freeze on contact and begin to glaze everything over in a coat of ice. 

We do still believe the greatest icing is going to happen north of Charlotte. Charlotte/Mecklenburg remains under the Winter Weather Advisory, but forecast temperatures right now at the coldest should only get down to about 33-34° in the city. Now, if our models are off by a degree or two, that could still get us down to freezing for a short bit. So we will still allow for light, minor freezing rain in Charlotte for a short time around 7 or 8am, but after that, it would quickly change over to rain.

All other areas will changeover to rain sometime between 10am - 12pm. As of now the Winter Weather Advisory expires at 10am, but if you live in any of the foothill areas or the Catawba Valley, you may want to give it until Noon just to be safe. If you must leave the house before then please use extreme caution, not only while driving, but while stepping out of your door onto porches, decks, and stairs that may be iced over as well. 

Saturday 9 p.m.

A sunny Saturday will turn into the wet Sunday! A First Alert Day has been issued because a low pressure system is approaching from the southwest and will bring precipitation starting late Saturday night.

As it moves in, many of us will be close to or below the freezing mark at the surface. Above the surface, it will actually be warmer. (Maybe not warm – but at least above freezing).

That is the set-up for a winter mix. We may get a little snow or sleet to start but as more warm air works in above the surface, we will start to get more freezing rain.

The main target seems to be the foothills. You could potentially pick up around 0.10 inches of ice by morning. That isn't a lot but when you're talking about ice, it doesn't take a lot.

Everyone from I-85, north and west is under a Winter Weather Advisory from 1 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Sunday morning.

Oddly enough, the mountains are high enough that you will likely get the warmer air above the surface first. That means you will likely see the change-over to plain rain first. From Charlotte, to the south and east, rain will likely be the biggest issue, due to temperatures only dropping to freezing or staying a little above by morning.

Remember, freezing rain looks like plain old rain, because that's what it is. When it falls onto a surface that is below freezing, it freezes on contact. That could be a road, sidewalk, steps, railings.

Take it easy! By the time you figure out what you’re dealing with, it could be too late.

By midday, we should all be back above freezing.

Even though it never gets warm, it will be warm enough for a change-over to all rain. Highs will reach the low 40s so expect a chilly, wet day all day. The rain should move out in the evening for most of us. 

However, the mountains could see little wrap-around snow Sunday night into Monday morning.

Be safe!

Saturday 9 a.m.

A Winter Weather Advisory has been issued in anticipation of freezing rain developing Sunday morning.

The stage is already set for this winter weather event this weekend with cold air in place.

As this cold air sits close to the lower surface levels, and warmer air moves in over top of it with the approaching southwestern storm system, rain falling into the low-level sub-freezing air will freeze on contact, creating an icy glaze.

While the Advisory does include Charlotte and Mecklenburg, temperatures in the city are not forecast to fall below 32 degrees. Areas Northwest of I-85 will, however, which is why icing is expected to be more of an issue there.

This isn't to say some light patchy icy spots won't be possible as far south as the Advisory goes, but we probably won't end up seeing a glaze of up to .10" or more like we will for areas Northwest of here.

The reason that ice totals in the mountains will also be low, is because they'll actually rise above freezing faster than some of the lower elevations (as the cold air will be shallow, and the mountains are several thousand feet up).

That's why you see the footprint of ice showing up outside the mountains to northwest of I-85.

Generally, ice amounts are forecast to stay below the critical threshold of .25". This is when we start to have widespread issues in terms of power outages and downed limbs.

But, some of our more aggressive models do have a small area where ice could get close to .20" so that could certainly start to weigh down on some weaker limbs.

While the main roads probably won't become an ice rink, be extra cautious of bridges and overpasses if you must travel, and especially your stairs, porches, and decks as you leave the house in the morning.

But, your best bet may just be to stay put through the morning.

By 10 a.m. conditions will be improving, with all areas changing over to rain by Noon the latest. Rain then continues through the rest of the afternoon and early evening, exiting roughly by game-time. 

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