March 5, 2014

Some freezing rain possible Friday morning

Forecasters said the amount of ice accumulation in the Charlotte region will be considerably less than the amount that causes tree and power line damage.

The next in a lengthy series of winter storms could bring a light coating of ice to the Charlotte region early Friday, but forecasters say they don’t expected a damaging ice storm.

Rain is predicted to arrive in Charlotte by early Thursday afternoon, and as temperatures fall near freezing Friday morning, the rain could bring a coat of ice to exposed surfaces.

“We’re expecting it to be a light event, but any amount of freezing rain on bridges and overpasses can be a problem,” said Doug Outlaw, of the National Weather Service office in Greer, S.C.

The good news – once we get past the wet and chilly weather Thursday and Friday, a very nice weekend is in store for the Charlotte region. High temperatures are expected to reach the upper 60s from Saturday through the early part of next week.

A low pressure system is forecast to move from the Gulf of Mexico across the Southeast on Thursday and Friday. Outlaw said rain could arrive in Charlotte by mid-morning Thursday but more likely a few hours later.

Thursday will be chilly, with highs struggling to reach 40 degrees, but temperatures will remain above freezing, forecasters said.

That will change overnight. Outlaw said freezing rain is expected to develop shortly after midnight along the Interstate 40 corridor, then spread southward toward Charlotte during the night. By 9 or 10 a.m. Friday, Outlaw said, the freezing rain will change back to rain.

He said the current forecast calls for less than .05 of an inch of ice accumulation in Charlotte. Typically, tree and power line damage doesn’t occur until .25 of an inch or more accumulates.

High pressure over New England will pump cold air into the Carolinas. That air will be squashed toward the surface by warmer air arriving with the storm system. Forecasters said the warmer air aloft will change the precipitation to rain, but it will freeze at the surface because of the cold temperatures near the ground.

It will be the second winter storm to affect the area this week.

Snow, sleet and freezing rain fell Monday afternoon and evening across much of North Carolina. Up to an inch of snow and sleet accumulated in the northern tier of counties across the state.

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