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Beware of black ice Tuesday evening as ‘a rapid freeze up’ sets in after day of rain

This story was updated at 6:40 p.m. Tuesday.

Chances of snow diminished Tuesday afternoon in the Charlotte region, but the possibility of black ice remains as forecasters predict a drastic drop in temperatures after a day of rain.

A light cold rain began falling in uptown Charlotte just after 1 p.m. Tuesday but gradually dimished later in the afternoon. A chance of rain, possibly mixing with snow, was forecast for after 7 p.m., with the precipation gradually expected to move out by later in the evening, according to a National Weather Service update at 5:52 p.m. No accumulation was expected, NWS forfecasters said.

Temperatures, however, continued to plummet Tuesday afternoon, according to the latest NWS forecast. The temperature fell to 43 degrees at Charlotte’s airport at 5:52 p.m., and is expected to drop to 22 degrees by early Wednesday, according to the NWS.

“A strong cold front will cross the area,” say NWS forecasters. “Very cold air will move in behind the front. Average temperatures may be nearly 15 degrees below normal Wednesday and Thursday which could cause significant impacts.”

Wednesday should be sunny, with a high near 45 degrees, according to the 5:52 p.m. Tuesday forecast.

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AccuWeather is calling for “a rapid freeze up” as temperatures dip below freezing at 6 p.m. and fall to 26 degrees by midnight.

WBTV meteorologist Al Conklin says the region will not likely get much snow.

“However, black ice will still be a possibility with temps crashing to around 20° for lows Tuesday night after the rain ends,” according to Conklin’s report on WBTV.com.

“A winter weather advisory has been issued Tuesday for the mountains and northern foothills, where the cold air and moisture will likely have better luck over-lapping.”

On Monday morning, the National Weather Service upgraded that advisory to a Winter Storm Warning for higher elevations in southwest North Carolina.

“There remains a flash freeze potential across the mountains this afternoon, so we will wait to see how that evolves,” says the National Weather Service.

Snow has already begun falling Tuesday in parts of the mountains, with dangerous wind chills and “isolated to scattered downed trees and power lines,” according to the National Weather Service.

Up to five inches could fall in western counties and wind chills could be a low as negative 10 degrees in Newland and negative 3 degrees in Burnsville, says the NWS.

Bitter cold” will follow later this week, with highs in the 30s Wednesday and Thursday and lows in the 20s, according to WBTV.

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