Charlotte road crews salted bridges, culverts and hospital entrances on Friday night, as the first winter storm of the season was expected to drop an inch of snow on Mecklenburg County and up to several inches farther north by Saturday afternoon.
The National Weather Service put a winter weather advisory into effect until noon Saturday for the region, as weather models showed more accumulation than originally anticipated.
One part of the forecast stayed the same, however: The snow should melt after hitting the ground, with minor accumulations only on elevated and grassy areas.
Drivers are warned to look out for slippery roads and reduced visibility, as Friday’s rain and snow mix was expected to continue early Saturday.
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The expected low will be around 34, and the chance of precipitation 100 percent.
“Our best shot at seeing any accumulation in the city will likely come after midnight into early Saturday morning, where up to an inch could fall down to the South Carolina state line – again, on grassy and elevated surfaces,” WBTV meteorologist Al Conklin said.
At 9:30 p.m. Friday, Charlotte road crews planned to begin salting bridges and culverts, hospital entrances and where emergencies are called in. Call 311 to report icy roads and 911 for wrecks and emergencies.
CATS anticipated a regular schedule for buses, Lynx trains and City Lynx streetcars this weekend.
Although Charlotte expected no severe weather, the city launched an emergency information page on its website to help people prepare for bad winter weather.
On Saturday, rain and snow are likely before 11 a.m., then a chance of rain between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. The high Saturday should approach 40, while the chance of precipitation is 80 percent. Little snow accumulation is expected Saturday, according to the National Weather Service. The low Saturday night is forecast to be 27 degrees.
American Airlines said it would waive the change fee for passengers traveling to, through or from Charlotte Douglas International and 24 other airports on Saturday. Twenty-two flights from Charlotte’s airport were canceled and 156 delayed on Friday, according to Flight Aware.
Far worse conditions were already occurring on Friday in the N.C. mountains and foothills, and the National Weather Services said travel is difficult in some areas.
By 8:40 p.m. Friday, 15 inches had fallen in Highlands in Macon County, 12 inches in Maggie Valley in Haywood County and 10.5 inches in Brevard in Transylvania County, according to unofficial NWS spotter reports.
As the season’s first expected snow and frigid temperatures approached the region, state Department of Transportation crews treated interstates and primary divided roads with brine in counties west and north of Charlotte on Thursday.
Crews spread the salt-water mixture on roads in Gaston, Iredell, Catawba, Cleveland, Lincoln and Alexander counties on Thursday night. Brine helps keep ice from bonding to pavement and costs only about 15 cents a gallon to produce, DOT officials said. That translates to about $6 per mile of a single lane of road, according to the DOT.