Snow and ice blanket parts of North Carolina on Sunday as a winter storm rolls through the region.
Much of the state is under a winter storm warning starting Sunday morning, according to the National Weather Service, while parts of the eastern part of the state are subject to a winter weather advisory.
A a winter storm warning is issued when “heavy snowfall of at least 6 inches in 12 hours, or at least 8 inches in 24 hours, is expected” or when “sleet accumulation will be at least half an inch”. A winter weather advisory indicates that 3 to 5 inches of snow, less than 0.5 inches of ice pellets, freezing rain with ice pellets or snow or “blowing snow” are possible.
More than 16,000 North Carolina the inhabitants were without electricity starting at 10:45 a.m. Sunday, officials said. Most outages were concentrated in the western part of the state.
The mountains and western North Carolina are expected to bear the brunt of the storm.
In mountains, winter storm warning remains in effect until 8 a.m. Monday. A “heavy mixed precipitation” was impacting the region with additional accumulations of 1 to 6 inches possible, the NWS said at around 10:15 a.m. Wind gusts reach up to 50 mph.
“Snow and sleet will continue today, mixing with freezing rain in warmer valleys,” forecasters said. “Precipitation will begin to taper off this evening in most areas, although flurries are expected to persist along the Tennessee border through Monday morning. Widespread freezing rain is expected Monday morning and could be a concern amid of the week.”
The NWS warned that travel may be difficult or impossible and that power outages and tree damage are likely.
In “Piedmont and western North Carolina,” including the Charlotte area, the winter storm warning remains in effect until midnight, the NWS said. Forecasters say an additional 2 inches of sleet and snow accumulations are possible with “two-tenths of an inch” of ice. Wind gusts reach 45 mph.
“A wintery mix of precipitation will continue throughout the day, gradually reverting to snow and sleet from west to east throughout the afternoon,” the forecasters said. “Rainfall is expected to subside this evening. Black ice could be a problem every morning early next week.
By Sunday morning, the roads were already freezing over in Charlotte, The Charlotte Observer reported. Travel conditions throughout the day could range from “dangerous to impossible”, and more than 1,000 flights had already been canceled at Charlotte Douglas International Airport.
The winter storm warning also remains in effect for parts of central North Carolina until midnight.
The NWS Raleigh office tweeted early Sunday morning that “light snow showers” were reported In certain regions.
The region is we expect to see “heavy mixed precipitation” with ice accumulations of two-tenths to three-tenths of an inch, forecasters said. Snow accumulations of 1 to 2 inches, with higher isolated amounts, are possible. Wind gusts are expected to reach up to 40 mph.
In the Triangle, less than an inch of snow accumulation is expected in most areas, but “significant ice” and strong winds will make travel dangerous and could lead to power outages, The News & Observer reported.
“Strong, gusty winds, in addition to ice, will cause many widespread power outages. Travel could be nearly impossible,” the weather service said.
For those who need to get out in the storm, the NWS recommends keeping an extra flashlight, food, and water in the vehicle in case of an emergency.
As of 7:45 a.m. Sunday, more than 100 flights at Raleigh-Durham International Airport had been canceled, according to The N&O.
In parts of northeastern North Carolina, “mixed precipitation” is possible, including a trace of snow and a “light glaze” of ice, the weather service said. The winter weather advisory is in effect until 6 p.m. Sunday.
“A winter weather advisory means that periods of snow, sleet or freezing rain will cause travel difficulties. Be prepared for slippery roads and limited visibilities, and be careful when driving,” the forecasters said.
The Wilmington office of the NWS, which covers southeastern North Carolina, said “Freezing rain may occur until the wee hours of the morning” in certain regions.
“Some glazing on predominantly elevated surfaces with less than a quarter-inch total ice accretion,” the weather service said. “Bridges and overpasses can also be briefly dangerous.”