For millions across the South, this weekend’s winter storm is starting to be taken seriously. Will it bring snow or ice — and how much?
So much is still to be determined, but one thing is certain: It’s happening.
The latest projections from the National Weather Service call for 1.2 inches of snow by 7 a.m. on Sunday, with more precipitation expected to continue throughout the day and into the night.
The weather system, now over the west coast of Canada, is expected to dive through the U.S. Plains and into the South before turning north and barreling through the Carolinas.
According to the weather service, there is a slight chance of rain beginning at 2 p.m. Saturday, then a 50% probability of snow starting at 11 p.m. as the overnight low dips to about 23 degrees.
The snow chance increases to 90% all day Sunday and into Sunday night. The high Sunday will be around 30 degrees and the low overnight in the upper 20s, according to the weather service.
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A major icing event could take shape across the Carolinas and Virginia, leaving millions without power and difficult travel conditions. Greensboro and Raleigh could be in for more ice than previously expected.
Across the state, Mecklenburg County can expect up to 7 inches of snow and sleet this weekend, and ice that will bring outages and make travel “nearly impossible” on roads across the region, National Weather Service meteorologists said.
According to the weather service, 6 to 8 inches of snow could fall over the northwest Piedmont, which includes Alexander, Catawba, Iredell, Cabarrus, Rowan and Davie counties.
Snow accumulations of 10 or 11 inches are expected in Hickory, western Burke and Caldwell counties and on Grandfather Mountain as well.
As the storm system quickly travels south, a wintry weekend will begin. Cities and towns in Arkansas, Tennessee and Mississippi could all see snow.
Once the system gets into middle Tennessee and the Southeast, the uncertainty grows exponentially.
There could be wide ranges in snowfall accumulations for middle Tennessee, and the forecast there may not be fine-tuned until just before the system arrives.
The north Georgia mountains have the best chances for seeing the biggest snowfall totals, while areas closer to Atlanta could see more rain coupled with a little snow.
After the system bottoms out across the South, it will bounce back to the north just as fast, riding a fine line with the I-95 corridor.