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North Carolina Faces Season’s First Blast of Winter Weather Western Counties Will See Greatest Impacts, Little Impact Expected in Eastern NC


State emergency and transportation officials are closely monitoring weather and road conditions, and are ready to respond if needed as North Carolina receives the season’s first blast of winter weather, Governor Roy Cooper said Friday.

Current forecasts from the National Weather Service call for three to six inches of snow in parts of the mountains and lesser amounts of one to two inches of snow in northern and western portions of the Piedmont.  East of Interstate 77, accumulations of snow will generally be limited to elevated and grassy surfaces.  A trace to one inch of snow could fall south and east of Interstate 85, but significant travel impacts are not expected in eastern counties.

Rain will begin to mix with wet snow and sleet late this morning across the western Piedmont and late this afternoon across eastern portions of the Piedmont. Scattered rain and snow showers will be possible through midday Saturday. Best chance of accumulating snow will be this evening and overnight, but some accumulating snow is possible this afternoon across the western Piedmont during heavier bands. Precipitation will be off and on and not continuous.

“North Carolinians should stay tuned to the forecast through the weekend, and be prepared for the unexpected,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “We know that winter weather in the South is notoriously difficult to predict, and forecasts can change in a matter of hours.”

With some heavy wet snow already falling in some areas, downed trees and some power outages are a possibility as are icy roads as temperatures drop.

“We expect that our counties will be able to handle these conditions without any additional resources,” said State Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry. “But we are monitoring the situation closely and stand ready to assist should conditions change.”

In preparation for this weather, the North Carolina Department of Transportation brined some highways in western NC, west and north of Charlotte. DOT maintenance crews are already out on interstates in mountain areas. In central and western parts of the state, crews are prepared with equipment and supplies of salt and sand ready. Additional crews from eastern North Carolina are prepared to move west if needed. 

The State Highway Patrol has troopers in central and western North Carolina, prepared and ready to respond where needed. Drivers should slow down and exercise caution when encountering wet, snowy or icy road conditions.

Several school systems in western North Carolina closed Friday including Avery, Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson, Macon, Madison, Mitchell, Swain, Transylvania and Yancey County Schools.  Jackson County schools operated on a delay.

Several Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) offices in the western part of the state are closing or are suspending road testing due to inclement weather. Drivers should to call ahead to see if the office they were planning to visit is open and doing testing. DMV office phone numbers are available here. 

To get ready for winter weather, North Carolina Emergency Management officials urge you to: 

  • Store an emergency kit in your vehicle. Include scraper, jumper cables, tow chain, sand/salt, blankets, flashlight, first aid kit and road map. 
  • Always keep at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food in your home. 
  • Keep fresh batteries on hand for weather radios and flashlights.
  • Dress warmly for the cold. Wear multiple layers of thin clothing instead of a single layer of thick clothing.
  • Properly vent kerosene heaters and keep electric generators outside and away from open windows or doors to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Do not burn charcoal indoors. 
  • Use a NOAA Weather Radio or monitor local news media for changing weather conditions. 
  • Keep alternative heating sources and fire extinguishers on hand. Be sure your family knows how to use them. 
  • Download the ReadyNC app for more winter weather preparedness information.



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