There is the potential for a major winter storm across Central North Carolina Friday night and Saturday. An arctic air mass will begin to spread into Central North Carolina today and tonight. An area of low pressure expected to track to the south and southeast of Central North Carolina will cause areas of moderate snow or snow mixed with sleet to occur across a large swath of the region.
The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning from 7:00pm Friday until 7:00pm Saturday for the Southern, Central and Northern Piedmont areas, the Northern Coastal Plain and the northern portions of the Sandhills.
Snow accumulation forecasts have increased along and north of the US 64 corridor with a swath of 6-9 inches possible. A decrease in accumulation in the latest model runs is indicated across the far south, with higher likelihood of a longer duration of rain expected.
In Johnston County, the National Weather Service says there is a 93 percent change of 0.1 inch of snow or more, an 88 percent chance of 1 inch or more, 81% chance of 2 inches or more, and a 63 percent chance of 4 inches of snow or higher.
Locally, the NWS anticipates 2 to 6 inches of snow and sleet is possible. Southern Johnston County areas near the Sampson County line could see 2-3 inches of snow. Central Johnston County including Smithfield, Selma, Four Oaks, and Wilson’s Mills could see 4 inches of snow. Micro and Kenly could see up to 4 or 5 inches. Clayton, Archer Lodge and Corinth Holders could see from 5 to 7 inches. However even a slight variation in the track of the storm system and the amount of precipitation could greatly change the snowfall accumulation totals.
The heaviest precipitation will occur between midnight and 9amSaturday. The snow will make travel hazardous mainly after midnightFriday.
Even after the precipitation ends Saturday afternoon, arctic cold temperatures will remain in the area through Tuesday. Saturday’s high is forecast to be 31, with a low Saturday night of 13. Due to gusty winds Saturday, wind chill values could remain in the teens for much of the day. Sunday temperatures will not reach above freezing with a high of only 31. Sunday night we will drop to 9 degrees. Monday temperature remain below freezing with a high once again of 31. Monday nights low will be 15. Tuesday we finally warm above freezing to 44.
Black ice will also create travel problems during the night and morning hours through Tuesday morning.