AP NEWS

Cold, wet: Chilly rain falls over Central NC

December 9, 2017

Friday night’s winter weather didn’t turn into the snow event some Triangle residents had wanted. But the area certainly endured a cold, wet night.

Drivers across central North Carolina encountered some sleet, ice and snow mixed with rain, but few communities saw snow accumulate, even on the grass.

South Hill, Roxboro and other communities toward the Virginia line experienced quite the wintery mix, while Cary and Raleigh saw mostly cold rain.

After weeks of warmer-than-normal weather, the turn to cold was not enough to freeze the ground. Friday overnight temperatures in Raleigh and Durham will hover above freezing, so the roads should be clear Saturday morning.

“Make sure you take it slow, but the roads shouldn’t be too much of an issue early Saturday morning,” WRAL meteorologist Aimee Wilmoth said. “For the most part, we’re just dealing with a cold rain overnight.”

Wilmoth said several northern counties could get 1 to 2 more inches of snow Saturday. Wake County would get trace amounts, if any at all.

Sunday will be a sunny, cool day with temperatures in the 40s to kick off a sunny week.

While the Triangle won’t see much snow Saturday, even slightly wet roads can cause drivers to slip and slide, especially if they are going too fast.

A spokesman for the North Carolina Department of Transportation said that crews would be on standby through the night Friday, prepared to respond to any roads that ice over.

“They will be around through the night until temperatures get above freezing on Saturday,” NCDOT spokesman Steve Abbott said. “They will be checking the usual trouble spots, like bridges and overpasses, putting salt down if needed and responding to any calls for assistance from law enforcement.

In Roxboro, central North Carolina’s “snow capital,” local and county emergency personnel dealt with multiple crashes as night fell. Chief of Police David L. Hess urged drivers to slow down, increase following distance and use extra caution on hills, bridges and in turning lanes.

Wilmoth said temperatures could get down to 26 Saturday night, so any moisture on the road could freeze at that point.

After a damp and chilly day, the City of Raleigh Parks Department canceled the Holiday Express scheduled for Friday night at Pullen Park. The popular, seasonal family event includes train rides, visits with Santa, a carousel, craft stations and holiday lights. Tickets for Friday will be honored Monday, and refunds are available through the city.

In Cary, the Chinese Lantern Festival at Booth Amphitheatre was also closed Friday night. Pre-purchased tickets can be used for any other night of the festival, which lasts into the new year.

The state high school sports association shifted the kickoff time for football championship games, pushing back the start times for two games scheduled in Winston-Salem. The 4AA state championship game between Wake Forest and Mallard Creek will be played at 3 p.m., followed by the 4A state championship game between Scotland and Harding University at 7 p.m.

Other games in Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill were slated to begin at noon as scheduled, but the NCHSAA is watching and waiting.

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

While plenty of people saw snow along and north of Interstate 85, counties in the southeast quadrant of the state will continue to experience a heavy rain.