Winter storm approaches the Carolinas as Warning remains in effect

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A Winter Storm Warning remains in effect for virtually the entire WBTV viewing area.

The anticipated Winter Storm for the Carolinas is moving across the deep south this morning. Increasing cloudiness overnight has kept temperatures up in the lower forties. With dry air in place across the Carolinas, it may take some time on Saturday for the precipitation to reach the ground. Our best estimate is for rain, sleet, and even snow to start appearing by late afternoon or during the evening.

Winter storm forecast
Winter storm forecast (Source: WBTV- Chris Larson)

Because the air is dry, it will initially delay the onset of precipitation, but once it starts falling, the dry air will also cool rapidly, and temperatures will quickly drop through the 30s. This will allow more snow to reach the ground in most of our 22 counties we cover from the mountains to the Greater Charlotte Area.

We have high confidence that the mountains and foothills will see large accumulations with amounts in the range of one to two feet. Uncertainty increases however closer to Charlotte as some lingering warm air aloft may melt the snow only to see it refreeze in the lower part of the atmosphere which results in sleet or worse, freezing rain.

Our best estimate at this point is for 4” – 8” of snow to fall north of Charlotte extending into Rowan, Iredell, and Lincoln counties and more than that into the Greater Hickory area toward the foothills. From Charlotte south, we are concerned that more ice, and possibly even rain will mix in during the midday and afternoon hours which could create a slushy icy mess south of Charlotte.

The worst case scenario is for a prolonged period of freezing rain. Some model data is indicating the freezing rain may exceed 1/4” which starts to put us in a threat zone for power outages.

If you have yet to make any preparations for this upcoming winter event, you still have a few hours during the day on Saturday before conditions begin to deteriorate Saturday night and Sunday.

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