By Niki Morock, Meteorologist
As of 11:30 this morning, the National Weather Service had issued a Winter Storm Watch for much of central North Carolina.
Wake Forest could see as much as four to six inches of snow, but that amount is still subject to change. The current forecast track and timing show the storm starting here as rain Friday evening and transitioning to snow Friday night. The temperature is not likely to rise above freezing on Saturday, and precipitation will continue to fall through at least early afternoon. Actual snowfall totals will depend upon how long that rain to snow transition takes to happen.
Many of the forecast models are showing the freezing line somewhere in the vicinity of the southern part of the Triangle. If that line shifts northward, we will get more rain - cutting into possible snow accumulation. If it shifts southward, we will see more snow.
Another factor in snowfall amounts is exactly what path the low pressure center takes. Any waver from the current forecast path and we could see more moisture or less moisture. More moisture could mean more snow. Less moisture could leave us totally dry all together, but the chances of that happening are increasingly slim with each model run.
In addition to the initial snowfall, black ice will be a lingering hazard. High temperatures are not expected to get much above freezing on Sunday and Monday. Any liquid that occurs from daytime melting on the roadway will refreeze quickly. In shadowy areas, it's possible that there won't even be any melting. So, the cold temperatures are important considerations when looking at possible hazards from this storm.
What do you do if you have plans for this weekend? Stay up to date on the forecasts as the situation unfolds over the next 48 hours. A Winter Storm Watch means travel is expected to become hazardous. While the State Department of Transportation has been brining the roads since yesterday, if there is enough rain before the transition to snow, some or much of that brine could be washed away. Also, brine does not mean that snow will not accumulate; it just slows the accumulation process.
I can tell you that personally, I have changed my plans for the weekend and expect to be fully hunkered down for the long haul Friday night.