Weather forecasters have increased their predictions for freezing rain in the Triangle, and the worst of the ice could come Friday evening.
National Weather Service maps released Friday afternoon show that much of the Triangle can expect between 0.25 and 0.5 inches of ice by Saturday. A quarter-inch of ice is typically the threshold for major power outages.
“This is still a potentially dangerous situation,” NWS meteorologist Nick Petro said, adding that freezing rain will be intermittent through the afternoon and evening. “Conditions can improve for an hour or two and then quickly go right back downhill again. Don’t think you’re out of the woods for the day.”
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Petro said he expects a heavier band of rain to hit between 7 and 10 p.m., possibly leaving up to 0.75 inches of ice in a few isolated areas. “That’s not a guarantee that we’re going to get that, but know that that is possible,” he said.
Wind gusts of up to 30 mph could make problems even worse. “We could see conditions rapidly deteriorate as it relates to power outages and falling trees and such,” Petro said.
Areas east of Interstate 95 will get mostly non-freezing rain, but Petro said below-freezing overnight lows will make black ice a possibility for many counties by sunrise Saturday.
The snow that meteorologists had expected to precede the sleet and ice never arrived Friday morning in the Triangle. But the forecast still includes some flurries and snow showers Saturday morning to top off the ice.
Areas from Raleigh to Durham and Chapel Hill could an inch or two of sleet and snow before the storm ends, while areas east and south of Raleigh will get less than an inch. Heavier snow is expected north and west of the Triangle.