RALEIGH — The beginning of a long, cold and wet winter storm rolled over the Triangle on Thursday afternoon. A mix of rain, sleet and freezing rain is expected to alternatively soak and ice the region into Friday.
“There could be a whole hodgepodge of snow, sleet and rain for the next few hours around the Triangle,” said Chris Hohmann, chief meteorologist for WTVD. “But it’s not going to accumulate for much of anything.”
The western part of the Triangle will get the worst of the weather. WTVD received late-afternoon reports of sleet near Chapel Hill and Durham, Hohmann said. Orange, Durham and Chatham counties and points west are under a winter weather advisory that the National Weather Service issued for 6 p.m. Thursday through midday Friday.
After the mix of sleet and rain, the western half the region and areas near the Virginia border could see several hours of freezing rain tonight, beginning around 9 p.m. Wind gusts may reach 30 mph, according to forecasts. However, Hohmann said there’s not much danger that ice on trees and electric lines will knock out power, as such storms sometimes do.
Icing could be more significant toward Greensboro and Burlington, Hohmann said. A more serious winter storm warning runs from Greensboro west to Asheville and north to the Virginia line.
To the east, Wake County will receive rain and “light sleet” this evening, with rain and a chance of freezing rain overnight, according to forecasts. Raleigh might also see snow on Thursday night, while Johnston County should see only rain and sleet, the forecasters said.
The weather predictions are driven by a low-pressure system that was expected to move from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic and follow the usual track up the coast.
Friday morning should bring a chilly rain to the Triangle, with a few pockets of freezing rain, according to Hohmann.
“By 9 or 10 o clock a.m., it should be all cold rain, and it'll continue all day,” he said. “It's going to be a miserable day.”
Then, a hint of spring: Predictions for the weekend are 65 degrees and sunny.
“It’s like someone's going to flip a switch,” Hohmann said.