Moderate to heavy snow has moved into the Triangle, and the predicted amounts are increasing in some areas.
The National Weather Service is now predicting that much of the Triangle will get 4 to 6 inches of snow, but Durham and points west could see 5 to 7 inches, with 8 inches of snow possible in some locations Wednesday.
The storm front arrived later than expected, reaching the western side of the Triangle about the time it was once projected to reach the eastern side.
Cary officials reported the first flakes falling there about 9 a.m. By about 11 a.m., radar images showed most of Wake County was getting snow. In parts of Johnston County, the snow began about noon.
The weather service in Raleigh has issued a winter storm warning for all of central North Carolina and extended it until 9 p.m. Wednesday.
Here’s what to expect now:
▪ Snow should fall over most of the Triangle for the rest of the afternoon and into the evening.
▪ The snow will intensify at times. The heaviest snow in the Triangle is expected between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Snowfall rates of half an inch to an inch per hour will be possible.
▪ Occasional but brief bursts of even heavier snow may occur, making road conditions dangerous very quickly. “Road conditions could go from being fine one minute, to treacherous the next minute,” the weather service said.
▪ It will get colder as the day goes on. Forecasters predict readings of 26 to 28 degrees throughout the region by 5 p.m. Wednesday. Lows overnight are expected to be in the teens, with wind chill readings approaching single digits across central North Carolina. Thursday’s high is predicted to be only in the mid-30s.
Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency for all of North Carolina beginning on Tuesday, to allow for deployment of resources for storm response. The state also activated its Emergency Operations Center on Wednesday morning.
The latest road conditions can be found at drivenc.gov.
Chatham, Durham, Franklin and Orange counties closed their offices, and many Wake County operations closed by noon Wednesday. Garner closed its town facilities at noon.
In Johnston County, Clayton town officials also decided to close all government facilities for the day.
Raleigh suspended solid waste collection for Wednesday and asked residents to whose trash, recycling and yard waste were not collected to leave them at the curb.
Roads, air travel, power
N.C. Department of Transportation crews began spraying brine on roads in on Monday to help prevent hazardous conditions. More than 1.7 million gallons of brine had been used to prep roads across the state as of Tuesday.
Cooper asked residents to stay home if they can.
“Unnecessary travel not only puts you at risk, but it can also put our first responders’ lives at risk if you end up needing help,” Cooper said. “And the more vehicles we have on the road, the tougher it is for our DOT crews to treat and clear those roads and get them open again.”
About 1,100 power customers in Durham County and 1,400 in Orange County were without power just before 1 p.m. Wednesday, Duke Energy reported. The estimated restoration time was listed as 4:45 p.m. Wednesday for Durham County and 5:15 p.m. for Orange County customers.
Duke Energy isn’t expecting widespread outages in its service area, since the storm is expected to bring more snow than ice. Some outages, however, may be caused by vehicles hitting power poles.
“Anytime that we see a large accumulation of icing, greater than a quarter inch of icing, that’s when we see a bigger impact of outages in our service territory,” said Duke Energy spokeswoman Meghan Miles. “With the forecast, we aren’t expecting to see a large impact across the system.”
Raleigh-Durham International Airport announced Wednesday morning that Southwest Airlines had canceled all flights from RDU until 4 p.m., and American Airlines had canceled six flights. United Airlines had scrubbed 10 flights, JetBlue two and Delta one.
For more information on conditions at RDU, go to www.rdu.com/weather.
Delta Airlines announced Tuesday that its customers who need to cancel trips because of flight cancellations or significant delays are entitled to refunds. Customers whose flights are not canceled can still make one-time changes to their tickets without fees if they are scheduled to travel to, from or through areas in the Southeast, including Raleigh and Charlotte.
Isolated power outages also are possible as the cold moves in through Wednesday evening, the weather service said.
▪ Dress warmly for the cold. Wear multiple layers of thin clothing instead of a single layer of thick clothing.
▪ Keep alternative heating sources and fire extinguishers on hand. Be sure your family knows how to use them.
▪ Properly vent kerosene heaters and keep electric generators outside and away from open windows or doors to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
▪ Do not burn charcoal or use a grill indoors.
▪ Use a NOAA Weather Radio or monitor local news for changing weather conditions.
▪ Keep fresh batteries on hand for weather radios and flashlights.
▪ If your pipes are uninsulated, keep faucets open to a slow drip to prevent pipes from freezing.
▪ Keep pets inside, out of the cold.
▪ Download the ReadyNC app for more winter weather preparedness information.
▪ Store an emergency kit in your vehicle. Include a windshield scraper, jumper cables, tow chain, sand/salt, blankets, flashlight, first aid kit and road map.
▪ Keep your cellphone charged.
▪ Monitor fuel levels.
▪ Clear your windshield and other windows of snow and ice before traveling.
▪ Use headlights and windshield wipers.
▪ Plan for delays and longer than usual travel times.
▪ Increase your following distance and decrease your speed.
▪ Choose several routes as some roadways may be closed.
▪ Share your travel plans/routes with others.
▪ Always be aware of your location in case you become stranded.
▪ If your vehicle becomes disabled, stay inside the vehicle until help arrives.
▪ Contact 911 or *HP in emergency situations only. Go to DriveNC.gov for roadway conditions.