Cold rain, snow in forecast from storm tonight

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 17, 2013

Cold, heavy rain and possibly snow are on the way to Rowan County this evening, according to a weather advisory issued by Frank Thomason, chief of Emergency Services for the county.
The advisory said the bulk of the bad weather is headed for western North Carolina and northeast Georgia, but it will move to the foothills and Piedmont late this afternoon and in the evening.
“A stalled, very moist frontal zone extends from northern Georgia … eastward through the southern upstate of South Carolina into central North Carolina,” the advisory said. “Low pressure is forecast to develop along the front over Georgia early Thursday and intensify as it moves east through central South Carolina.
“The low will produce a cold, heavy rain across the area through Thursday morning. Colder air will arrive during the afternoon and the rain will change to snow first over the mountains during the afternoon and then across the foothills and Piedmont …”
The mountains are likely to see heavy accumulations of wet snow, and there could be quick accumulations up to several inches even outside the mountains Thursday evening. Flooding may occur.
The Thursday forecast for Rowan County includes as much as 2.33 inches of rain and some snow — as much as 2.5 inches, the advisory said.
Wet, snow-covered roads could make for hazardous travel conditions outside the mountains this afternoon and tonight.
Tonight’s low temperature is forecast to dip below freezing and into upper 20s.
The National Weather Service said a potent low pressure system tracking northeast from the Gulf Coast and cold air coming from the north will trigger the transition from rain to snow.
NWS meteorologist Phil Badgett in Raleigh said there could be up to 6 inches in the Triad up to the Virginia border, and as much as 3 inches in the Triangle. Much of that snow will fall overnight and into early Friday morning.
Badgett said the northern mountains between Boone and Asheville can expect 8 inches of snow, with even more in the higher elevations.