Snow is now officially in the forecast for the Triangle this weekend

What kind of winter weather is heading our way?

Check out the ABC11 forecast for winter weather heading our way in Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill.
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Check out the ABC11 forecast for winter weather heading our way in Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill.

Snow is now officially in the forecast for the Triangle and central North Carolina this weekend, though it’s still unclear how much or if it will stick.

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As a winter storm — still thousands of miles away on Wednesday — heads east and cold air pushes south, the National Weather Service said Wednesday evening that Raleigh and the Triangle can expect to see wintry precipitation in the form of freezing rain and sleet as soon as late Saturday night.

After midnight, there’s a chance that precipitation could change to snow.

Snow is expected to continue through Sunday morning, before switching back over to rain for the remainder of the day.

Rain and sleet could complicate the morning commute Monday, according to the weather service. There’s also a chance of more rain and more snow Monday night before the sun comes out on Tuesday.

Temperatures will be around freezing or below for lows through the weekend, with highs reaching into the low 40s Saturday and Sunday.

ABC11 meteorologists Don Schwenneker and Chris Hohmann said Wednesday light rain likely will become snow then switch back to rain Sunday.

“Still many uncertainties, cold air is marginal, will barely be freezing or below for most of the event,” Hohmann said.

“Likely, some wintry precipitation will mix in Sunday morning and again on Monday morning in spots” north and west of Interstate 85, Schwenneker said. “not confident in snow amounts, so no forecast at the moment.”

Areas of the South Carolina Upstate and the majority of North Carolina could see significant snowfall this weekend — with some areas seeing a chance for up to 16 inches of snow. Here's the latest forecast from the National Weather Service.

The weather service issued a hazardous weather outlook for central North Carolina on Wednesday evening.

“A strong storm system will cross the Southeast states Saturday through Monday, as cold surface high pressure extends in from the north. Wintry precipitation is likely over northwest portions of central North Carolina, particularly over the northwest Piedmont, late Saturday through Monday. The best chance of wintry precipitation and some accumulation will be early Sunday morning through late Sunday afternoon, and again on Monday.”

But, the weather service said, slight changes in the approaching cold air and temperature differences “of a degree or two in any given location across the area would change things significantly.”

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Ron Gallagher is a member of the News & Observer’s Breaking News team and has been writing and editing news for 45 years.

News & Observer reporter Abbie Bennett is a charter member of the McClatchy Carolinas real-time team. She is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Journalism and has won awards for her investigative, politics and breaking news reporting.