Snow, sleet accumulations drop in Charlotte’s messy weekend forecast

This story was updated at 5 p.m. Thursday.

Charlotte could see snow, sleet and rain this weekend, although chances that the messy stuff will accumulate continue to drop, according to a National Weather Service forecast at 3:52 p.m. Thursday.

Predictions call for a chance of snow before 4 p.m. Saturday, rain and snow from 4 to 5 p.m., and a rain-snow-sleet mix from 5 to 9 p.m. The precipitation is then expected to become all rain, NWS meteorologists said.

“Little or no snow and sleet accumulation expected” Saturday at Charlotte Douglas International Airport, according to the 2:52 p.m. Thursday forecast update by the NWS office in Greer, S.C.

The storm’s impact is expected to be “minimal along and east of a line from the Charlotte metro area to the Triangle,” Gov. Roy Cooper said in a news release Thursday afternoon. “A wintry mix and rain is expected in those areas, with a brief period of wintry weather at most.”

Driving could prove “hazardous” starting Saturday night north and west of Interstate 85, Cooper said, with possible “isolated power outages.”

Only a 30 percent chance of snow, rain and sleet is expected in Charlotte Saturday afternoon, with a 90-percent chance of rain only after 9 p.m., according to the NWS forecast.

The high will be near 42 degrees, which means little chance of anything freezing on roads.

Rain is likely again Sunday until about noon, according to the NWS, with the chance of precipitation at 70 percent. Skies should then turn cloudy to mostly cloudy Sunday night and Monday, the Greer office reported.

The weekend forecast has changed multiple times in recent days, with the NWS including freezing rain at one point in Saturday’s predicted wintry mix and the possibility of sleet and snow Sunday morning. The official forecast changed by the hour.

Earlier Thursday, snow had also been in the mix for Monday morning.

In a hazardous weather outlook bulletin posted for the Charlotte Thursday, the Greer office advised that temperatures should be cold enough for snow and a wintry mix this weekend.

“However, there is quite a bit of uncertainty with this system regarding timing, location of wintry precipitation, and precipitation amounts,” according to the NWS post.

NWS meteorologists expect the low early Thursday to be 29 degrees in Charlotte, 27 degrees early Friday, 32 early Saturday and 34 early Sunday and early Monday. Highs should stay in the low- to mid-40s Thursday through Sunday, according to the NWS.

Parts of the N.C. mountains anticipate at least a couple of inches of snow this weekend.

Several inches are expected in Watauga County, where state highway crews plan to “prep roads” with brine on Friday, Observer news partner WBTV reported.

Two inches of snow could fall in Asheville, according to a city tweet on Thursday.

Joe Marusak has been a reporter for The Charlotte Observer since 1989 covering the people, municipalities and major news events of the region, and was a news bureau editor for the paper. He currently reports on breaking news.