Weather

US 64, Wendell
NC Department of Transportation

The North Carolina Department of Transportation is all hands on deck this morning.

More than four hundred trucks have been in action over the last 48 hours pre-treating and clearing roadways of snow from the mountains to the Outer Banks.

The western piedmont got about an inch of snow, and some areas of the Triangle near I-95 have seen 5 inches. Snow accumulations in Easter North Carolina could exceed six inches.

Most schools across the region are closed today.

North Raleigh
WRAL's Stephanie Beck via Twitter

Those white flakes accumulated all around the state. More fell on the coast than around the Triangle area and Piedmont.

Here are some images and tweets from Twitter - people who tagged images "ncwx".

The ReadyNC app is for Android and iPhone
State of NC

There's a new app for Iphone and Android that could help North Carolinians in this week's winter weather. It's called ReadyNC.

This app does not replace 9-1-1. Rather, it's a place to look for local weather or road conditions, or to find a local shelter if needed.  The app is even designed to offer real-time flood conditions on local waterways.

The app launched not long ago, so this will be its first big test.

If you search for the app on iTunes or the Apple App Sotre, look for "ReadyNC" (No space.)

Links:

N.C. Department of Transportation
Dave DeWitt

Looking to follow news about the storm on Twitter? Look for the hashtags #ncwx or #ncsnow. Also, as the storm revs up on the outer banks, search for #snOBX.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation is @NCDOT.  They have 16,340 followers. They live tweet information, even videos. Here's one, hosted by a snowplow driver, about when they decide to start plowing the roads:

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.”

We've mentioned the polar vortex several times in recent days.

We've said, for instance, that it's "a low pressure system that's usually whirling around the North Pole but has weakened and come south."

But we're still getting asked this question:

 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.

A winter weather advisory (purple) remains in effect for areas west of the Triangle.
National Weather Service / noaa.gov

Forecasters say a winter storm is ready to drop heavy rain across North Carolina, but temperatures are high enough to avoid sleet or snow. 

The system is sweeping through the mountains, Charlotte and the Triad, and will move east throughout the day on Tuesday.  Meteorologist Ryan Ellis says the steady rain will start with the morning commute.

"It definitely is going to be a heavy-rain event and a long-duration event," Ellis says.

Pages