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Mountain snow piles up; more cold in Charlotte

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Snow continued falling Tuesday in North Carolina’s mountains, where schools were closed for the second straight day and ski resorts are preparing for one of their latest closings in recent years.

Meanwhile, unseasonably cold weather continues at low elevations, where temperatures dropped below freezing Tuesday morning in Charlotte and more of the same is expected Wednesday and Thursday mornings.

A winter storm warning continues Tuesday in the mountains, where two people were injured, one seriously, Monday evening in a crash involving a snow plow. And a freeze watch has been issued for Tuesday night and Wednesday morning in Mecklenburg and nearby counties.

Schools were closed for the second straight day Tuesday in Ashe, Avery, Madison, Watauga and Yancey counties in the northwest mountains, along with several school systems west of Asheville. Schools in Alleghany and McDowell counties opened on a delayed basis.

Forecasters say one more low pressure system is swinging through the mountains Tuesday, probably bringing a few more inches to areas above 3,000 feet. That same system also could produce a few rain showers and possibly some ice pellets in the Charlotte area.

The heaviest snowfall total so far came from the western mountains. The town of Maggie Valley, in Haywood County, reported 13 inches. A 12-inch accumulation was reported at Mount Mitchell State Park in Yancey County.

Snowfall totals of 6 to 8 inches were common in Avery and Watauga counties, including in Boone. Even lower elevations, such as Newland in Avery County, got 2 to 3 inches of snow.

The snow is good news for ski enthusiasts. Sugar Mountain announced Monday that it will remain open through Easter Sunday -- one of its latest seasons in recent years.

Slippery roads are blamed for a serious wreck Monday in Watauga County. The N.C. Highway Patrol reports two people were injured in a collision between an SUV and a snow plow on Blowing Rock Road in Boone. One of those hurt in the crash was airlifted to a Winston-Salem hospital with life-threatening injuries.

At lower elevations in the Piedmont, very chilly temperatures are the story. Lows were in the upper 20s and lower 30s Tuesday morning. At 7 a.m., it was 30 degrees at Charlotte Douglas International Airport, but readings as low as 28 degrees were noted in Lancaster and Lincolnton.

Some cloudy periods are expected Tuesday in the immediate Charlotte area, as the low pressure system crosses the mountains, and Charlotte’s high temperature is expected to be 50 degrees -- more than 15 degrees below the average for this time of year.

Slight recovery is expected Wednesday, with sunshine and highs in the low 50s. Forecasters expect temperatures to climb a few degrees every day, finally nearing 60 Saturday and the middle 60s for Easter Sunday.

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