National Weather Service

Image of the warning areas from the National Weather Service.
The National Weather Service

School districts across the state are closing early today in anticipation of thunderstorms, strong winds and possible tornadoes.

Wake, Durham, Johnston, Cumberland and Sampson County schools are among dozens of districts letting out about three hours early this afternoon. District officials say the dismissal is an unusual precaution. But they want to make sure students are safe at home and not on the bus when the severe weather is expected to hit.

ATHD
Dave DeWitt

Updated February 25 at 7:00 a.m.: Strong winds damaged 10 buildings in Granville County yesterday afternoon and overnight. Trees fell on some homes in Northern Durham County. A roof was blown off a mobile home in Wayne County.

Cold sky in the woods.
http://www.torange.biz

An Arctic cold front passed through the region Monday, bringing below-freezing temperatures to the Triad and Triangle.

National Weather Service Forecaster Scott Sharp says temperatures have hovered in the teens so far this morning.

A close-up picture of a snowflake
Alexei Kljatov / Creative Commons 2.0 http://earthdesk.blogs.pace.edu/files/2013/12/snowflake.jpg

A winter storm system is expected to sweep into the state tonight and leave 4 to 8 inches of snow in its wake. Freezing precipitation is likely to come at the end of the storm too. Meteorologist Darin Figurskey of the National Weather Service spoke with WUNC's All Things Considered host, Catherine Brand, about this wintry weather.

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory
Hal Goodtree / Flickr Creative Commons

The storm has passed, and Governor Pat McCrory has lifted the State of Emergency issued  earlier this week.

Last night, he thanked North Carolinians for staying off the roads yesterday. But he warned this week's winter weather isn't over.

The National Weather Service forecasts record lows tonight and tomorrow night.

"It's literally getting down to zero degrees and we could be in some very dangerous situations, so I do ask all counties to reassess their shelter needs, not because of the snow situation, but because of the cold weather situation," McCrory says.

Hurricane Arthur
National Weather Service / NOAA

Historically, today marks the peak in the Atlantic hurricane season. 

There have been four named storms so far and three of those were hurricanes.  Hurricane Arthur caused damage to eastern North Carolina when it came ashore along the Outer Banks in July.  

Richard Bandy is a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Newport.  He said forecasts for a below normal season are proving accurate. 

Hurricane Arthur
National Weather Service / NOAA

Update: Highway 12 Could Reopen Saturday

Governor Pat McCrory says the North Carolina coast took less damage than expected from Hurricane Arthur.  

The storm moved north between the Outer Banks and the mainland as a Category 2 hurricane.  Emergency management officials are reporting downed trees and widespread power outages in their damage assessments this morning, but no injuries have been reported.  

The governor encouraged vacationers who might have canceled trips to the coast to renew their plans.

An illustration of Hurricane Arthur's projected path.
National Weather Service

Category one Hurricane Arthur has maximum sustained winds of 80 miles per hour.

Hatteras Island residents have begun a mandatory evacuation this morning, and a State of Emergency has been issued for all of Dare County. Hyde County has issued a voluntary evacuation for Ocracoke Island for 2 p.m. today.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Lara Pagano said North Carolinians can expect to feel the effects of the hurricane's outer bands today.

A picture of the Fishing Pier at Ocean Isle Beach, NC.
Pubdog / Wikipedia

Forecasters say the worst is over, at least for the Triangle. The cold front, which blew damaging winds and heavy rain is headed toward the ocean.

On Tuesday, a tornado damaged homes and trees near Stedman. Some areas between Fayetteville and Wilson saw more than four inches of rain.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Brandon Dunstan said things will quiet down later today.

A close-up picture of a snowflake
Alexei Kljatov / Creative Commons 2.0 http://earthdesk.blogs.pace.edu/files/2013/12/snowflake.jpg

A storm system is moving up the East Coast, but it's not likely to have a heavy impact South of Virginia.

Ryan Ellis is a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Raleigh. He says we should expect some light precipitation and temperatures in the 30s this morning.

“Still cold enough to get some snow, but certainly not cold enough to cause major impacts,” said Ellis. “And this time of year, in late March, we know, from climatology, that it's just very hard to get a significant event here in North Carolina this late in the year.”

 Image of a branch that has been subjected to freezing rain within the previous 24 hours. Note the branch is completly encapsulated in ice. Some melting has occurred as temperatures were around 0 Celsius
David Park, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada on 27 Dec 2009. / Wikipedia Creative Commons

A low-pressure system moving up from the south brought rain and sleet to Central North Carolina, and high pressure air from the North is keeping cold air in the area. The result has been freezing temperatures and icy roads.

A winter weather advisory is in effect for most of the state west of the Interstate 95 corridor until noon.

Ryan Ellis is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Raleigh. He says ice is especially bad in the Triad.

 Image of a branch that has been subjected to freezing rain within the previous 24 hours. Note the branch is completly encapsulated in ice. Some melting has occurred as temperatures were around 0 Celsius
David Park, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada on 27 Dec 2009. / Wikipedia Creative Commons

Updated 10:48 a.m.:

A cold front is moving into the Triangle and creeping eastward toward the coast. Temperatures are expected to drop into the 20s later today.

Scott Sharpe is a senior forecaster at the National Weather Service in Raleigh. He said a wintry mix is expected across the region sometime after lunch.

Danielle Scott / Flickr Creative Commons http://www.flickr.com/photos/danielle_scott/

The two-day snow and ice storm has finally stopped, but hazardous road conditions remain.

Kathleen Carroll is a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Raleigh. She said temperatures rose into the upper-30s yesterday, causing the snow to start melting.

“The problem is that it didn't really dry out a whole lot before the sun set and temperatures started to fall again,” Carroll said. “So what's we've seen over night is a pretty good development of black ice on area roads.”

ice on everything
Justinsomnia / licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License

Forecasters say a serious ice storm is headed our way.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Mike Moneypenny says conditions could be similar to those of a 2002 ice storm that caused long power-outages across the state.

Ice increases the risk of branches snapping power lines, and of motorists sliding off the road into utility poles.

Moneypenney says parts of the Piedmont could receive up to five inches of snow. It will fall on ground that's already frozen, and the air isn't likely to warm up until the weekend.

Photo by mtsofan / John / found on Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons

The National Weather Service is calling for an ice storm, not unlike one that crippled the state in 2002. Home and business owners are on the lookout for rock salt, but they're having trouble finding it.

Eileen Beatty manages Pope True Value Hardware in Durham. She says winter inventory has gotten slim since the last snowstorm.

“We don't have anything here. All the salt is gone. Kerosene heaters are gone. Electric heaters are gone. I got two snow shovels left... Two saucers and two sleds,” Beatty said. “And that's it.”

 Image of a branch that has been subjected to freezing rain within the previous 24 hours. Note the branch is completly encapsulated in ice. Some melting has occurred as temperatures were around 0 Celsius
David Park, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada on 27 Dec 2009. / Wikipedia Creative Commons

While the state transportation department is already out salting roads, utility companies are closely monitoring the weather forecast today.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Ryan Ellis said light snow is likely this afternoon, getting heavy tomorrow into Thursday. By tomorrow afternoon, he said, ice will coat much of the state.

Jane Pritchard is a spokeswoman for the North Carolina Association of Electric Cooperatives. She said it would take a heavy snowfall to mess with power lines, but just a half-inch of ice can do a lot of damage.

Raindrops falling on water
Juni from Kyoto, Japan / Wikipedia Creative Commons

The weather warmed up over the weekend, after snow, ice, and freezing temperatures deadlocked much of the state last week.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Phil Badgett said air flow from the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic is keeping things warmer and rainy in the region today.

A view of Lumber Bridge, NC on NC Highway 71, after a rare snowfall
Gerry Dincher, Lumber Bridge Presbyterian / Wikipedia Creative Commons

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for much of the state today.

Raleigh Forecaster Scott Sharp says highs aren't likely to rise above the mid-20s today, and wind chill could make it feel like the teens.

Snow will start to fall this afternoon. Sharp says up to three inches could fall in the West, and up to six inches of snow is possible near I-95. The coast could see up to eight inches.

National Weather Service

Rain became snow, and temperatures plummeted across much of North Carolina overnight. Most of the Triangle received a dusting, but areas north and west saw snow accumulations of up to 2.5 inches.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Barrett Smith said it's the latest in a string of Arctic cold fronts moving in from Canada.

“With the temperatures being in the low-to-mid-20s, where they are this morning, anything that looks wet on the roadway, you've got to assume that it's ice,” Smith said. “So, we're just cautioning everyone to be careful.”

 Image of a branch that has been subjected to freezing rain within the previous 24 hours. Note the branch is completly encapsulated in ice. Some melting has occurred as temperatures were around 0 Celsius
David Park, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada on 27 Dec 2009. / Wikipedia Creative Commons

It will feel a lot like a breezy spring morning across much of the state, but temperatures will turn icy this afternoon and into tomorrow.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Phil Badgett said temperatures will be in the 60s in some places early in the day, before an Arctic cold front moves in this afternoon.

“We're looking for lows tonight of between 5 and 10 degrees,” Badgett says. “And we haven't been that cold since January of 1996.”

Badgett says his colleagues call cold fronts like these "The Polar Express".

 Image of a branch that has been subjected to freezing rain within the previous 24 hours. Note the branch is completly encapsulated in ice. Some melting has occurred as temperatures were around 0 Celsius
David Park, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada on 27 Dec 2009. / Wikipedia Creative Commons

Winter weather has made for treacherous roadways in the Piedmont over the last couple of nights.

Barrett Smith is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Raleigh. He says freezing rain is responsible for a number of traffic accidents in Chapel Hill and the Northern Triangle.

Smith says that freezing rain occurs when the air on the ground is colder than the air in the clouds.