The National Weather Service is honing its weekend snow expectations for the Charlotte area, and now expects as much as 7 inches — with “a light glaze of ice.”
Southern Mecklenburg County could see 0.16 of an inch of ice, with lows of 31 degrees Saturday and Sunday and 27 degrees on Monday, forecaster said early Friday.
There is a 100 percent chance of “heavy mixed precipitation” on Sunday, says the National Weather Service, with snow, sleet and ice accumulations that could vary widely, from 3 to 11 inches in some spots.
Monday morning commuters will likely face snow and sleet before 8 a.m., then a chance of sleet from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., say NWS forecasters. High for the day is near 38 and the chance of precipitation is 60 percent, says the Friday morning NWS forecast.
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The Weather Channel offers a bit of hope, however, with forecasters predicting it’s possible the rain quickly wash away the snow, aided by temperatures rising above freezing
Snowfall predictions for the weekend continue to be highest north and west of Mecklenburg County, including as much as 14 inches in Lincolnton, 15 in Hickory and 16 inches in Morganton, Lenior and Statesville, according to a NWS 3:45 a.m. Friday update.
Gastonia and Forest City could see 10 to 11 inches.
Ice continues continues to be a major concern for counties south and east of Charlotte, including Union County, N.C., and York County, just south of the state line, says the NWS
Forecasts have varied wildly in recent days (as much as 18 inches in Charlotte at one point) as the National Weather Service tried to predict the line where cold high pressure from the east would collided with a moist system out of the Gulf of Mexico.
That line is currently expected to straddle the North Carolina-South Carolina state line, predicts the National Weather Service.
A winter storm watch is already in effect for the western part of the state, and a winter storm warning is scheduled to start 7 p.m. Saturday and be in effect until noon Monday.
Widespread power outages are possible for extended periods during and immediately following the storm, the NWS is warning.
“Travel could be very difficult to impossible,” says the National Weather Service briefing. “Road conditions could deteriorate as early as Saturday evening, with highway travel continuing to be impacted through early next week. Visibility may drop to less than a half mile during periods of heavy snow.”
Mark Price: 704-358-5149, @markprice_obs