Latest forecast for Charlotte: 6 inches of snow, power outages, ‘treacherous’ travel

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Charlotte could see 6 inches of snow and nearly a tenth of an inch of icefrom the season’s first winter storm that’s expected to arrive as rain Saturday afternoon and turn to sleet and snow on Sunday, according to the latest National Weather Service estimates at 5:45 a.m. Saturday.

SATURDAY SNOW.JPG

Charlotte can expect 6 inches of snow from this weekend’s winter storm, a Saturday morning updated map from the National Weather Service shows.

Screen grab of NWS map

The latest estimates show less snow but more ice than what the NWS office in Greer, S.C., called for Charlotte on Friday: 9 inches of snow and 0.13 inches of ice.

But emergency officials continue to warn North Carolinians to stay off the roads if possible this weekend because of ice that could make driving “treacherous,” as Gov. Roy Cooper said Friday.

Duke Energy expects at least 500,000 customers in the Carolinas will lose power.

NWS forecasters expect rain to arrive after 3 p.m. Saturday. The nasty stuff is expected to arrive in Charlotte as sleet shortly before 1 a.m. Sunday.

Snow and rain are forecast between 1 and 3 a.m. Sunday, with the precipitation becoming all snow after 3 a.m., according to the Saturday morning forecast by the National Weather Service office in Greer, S.C. Overnight snow and sleet accumulations of 1 to 3 inches are possible in Charlotte, the NWS forecast said.

SATURDAY ICE MAP.JPG

Charlotte can expect 0.9 inches of ice from this weekend’s winter storm, according to a Saturday morning updated map by the National Weather Service.

Screen grab of NWS map

At 10:05 a.m. Saturday, the NWS Greer office tweeted that its meteorologists were “starting to hear reports of wintry precipitation falling across the portions of Western NC. While we haven’t heard of any road issues at this time, it won’t be long.”

The precipitation in Charlotte is expected to continue as snow and sleet until about 2 p.m. Sunday, freezing rain between 2 and 4 p.m., and then rain or freezing rain after 4 p.m. “New ice accumulation of less than a 0.1 of an inch possible,” the NWS forecast said of Sunday’s anticipated precipitation. “New snow and sleet accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.”

More rain is likely from 7 p.m. Sunday to 3 a.m. Monday, according to the NWS forecast. Sleet could show up again after 3 a.m.

After that, the chance of precipitation is forecast to fall to 40 percent, with snow and sleet possible before 9 a.m Monday, snow from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. and rain and snow after 10 a.m.

As of 8:30 a.m. Saturday, American, Southwest, Delta, United, JetBlue and Frontier airlines had travel waivers in place allowing customers to rebook impacted flights free of charge, Charlotte’s airport tweeted.

Joe Marusak: [email protected]; @jmarusak