Slick Roads a Concern for Some in North Carolina Late Tonight
It’s cloudy and cold for most all of North Carolina Tuesday with areas of patchy light rain. However, a wintry mix of sleet and/or freezing rain will likely cause ice accumulations up to a .25″ in Central North Carolina as we travel into the overnight hours.
Its almost a classic cold air damming scenario across North Carolina. See the graphic below.
High pressure anchored towards the north is driving cold air down to the surface, allowing for sub-freezing temperatures late Tuesday night to remain stationary in the lower level of the atmosphere.
In conjunction, another shot of shortwave energy moves in aloft (higher level of the atmosphere) from the south and west yielding more precipitation to move in riding over the cold layer at the surface. If precipitation begins to fall with freezing temps at the surface, we will be dealing with slick roads on major highways and interstates for morning commuters on Wednesday.
As a result, a vast majority of North Carolina is under some type of Advisory for wintry precipitation. The graphic below depicts a Winter Weather Advisory (in purple) in place around the Winston-Salem region, along with all of Central North Carolina, and areas closer to the coast. A Freezing Rain Advisory (in pink) encompasses the upstate South Carolina areas, along with the Western North Carolina Piedmont region.
The most important thing to note is timing, as this will likely be a late evening-overnight event. Most all of the advisories illustrated above do not go into effect until Tuesday evening and will linger into the noon hour on Wednesday as temperatures will likely barely make it back above freezing Wednesday afternoon.
Ice can be the worst type of wintry precipitation as it only takes a very thin glaze to cause spin-outs and problems stopping your vehicle.
Temperatures may improve slowly throughout the day on Wednesday, but we are really not out of the woods with this system until Thursday where we’ll see a return to most temperatures back in the upper 30’s and 40’s.
Meteorologist Merry Matthews