Five Inches Of Snow Possible In Charlotte - Winter Weather Updates
This article will feature the latest news on the expected winter storm hitting North Carolina today. It will be regularly updated by WFAE staff. Scroll down for earlier reports.
2:30 p.m. update
The snow flurries should begin winding down over the new few hours, says Doug Outlaw, with the National Weather Service.
Already, the Charlotte region has seen roughly three inches of accumulation, with higher levels in areas north of the city - up to six inches in some places.
The snowstorm has generated dangerous driving conditions in many parts of the state. At a press briefing in Raleigh, Col. Glenn McNeill, commander of the North Carolina Highway Patrol, urged people to stay off the roads, or if a trip is absolutely necessary, to take extra precautions.
"If you must go out on the roadways, please make sure to increase your following distances, monitor your speed, don't drive distracted, and plan for delays," McNeill said.
As of 1 p.m., some 169 car wrecks had been reported to The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. was among those involved in a car crash today. In a Twitter message, the NASCAR driver urged fellow North Carolinians to stay off the road, writing that his car had "center punched a pine tree."
"Probably just needs a new alignment," he said.
11:30 a.m. update
Wednesday's snowstorm is shaping up to be Charlotte's largest of the season, but it likely will not be a record-setting snowfall for the day.
That record was set back in 1965, when the city saw on this day 10 inches of snow accumulation. Even higher totals were seen that day in Statesville (15 inches) and parts of Iredell County (18 inches).
A photographer working for The Charlotte Observer at the time captured the image to the left, depicting a crowd of children and parents sledding down Londonderry Street in south Charlotte. The paper quotes one sledder, somewhat miffed when a motorist came up the hill, as yelling, "I wish automobiles would stay off our sled run!"
9:30 a.m. update
Up to five inches of snow are projected to fall in the Charlotte region throughout the day Wednesday before tapering off around 5 p.m.
The National Weather Service projects the highest snowfall totals will be to the east of I-77, especially in the eastern portions of Stanley and Davidson Counties.
Some 22 public school systems in the area have shuttered for the day, including Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.
At least seven area universities have also canceled classes, including UNC Charlotte, Johnson and Wales University, Central Piedmont Community College, and Queen’s University.
The weather is also impacting the Mecklenburg County Courthouse, which has canceled all court sessions for the day. The city of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County governments remain open.
Ahead of today’s snowfall, county leaders and several charities were taking steps to shelter the city’s homeless population. On Tuesday, the county opened an emergency warming station for the homeless at the Grady Cole Center on Kings Drive. The shelter plans to remain open through noon Thursday.
Outreach workers from the Urban Ministry Center were reportedly combing the streets on Tuesday encouraging homeless people to take shelter, and providing sleeping bags and blankets to those who refused.
The weather is the result of a strong cold front moving east across the western Carolinas. Doug Outlaw with the National Weather Service says as temperatures drop into the teens overnight and snow turns to ice, roads could become treacherous.
“There’s certainly a high risk of slick spots on roads tonight and going into tomorrow morning,” Outlaw said, “Temperatures will be either holding steady or falling during the day (Wednesday), and tonight, a low is expected around 17 degrees."
The weather service projects much of today’s snow and ice will likely melt during the day Thursday, when temperatures climb into the mid-40s.
8:45 a.m. update
The snow is definitely here.
And in some surprising amounts in certain areas.
Doug Outlaw, a meteorologist with the Spartanburg office of the National Weather Service, reports two inches of snow have fallen five miles west of Salisbury. More is on the way. Snow is expected to fall throughout the day today.
WFAE's Nick de la Canal interviewed Doug Outlaw around 8 a.m. You can hear an excerpt of that interview by clicking the play button bellow.
The forecast continues to call for up to five inches of snow in Charlotte. Three inches remain possible in Hickory.
The winter weather is prompting some 22 public school systems in the region to shutter for the day, including Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. Six area universities have also canceled classes, including UNC Charlotte, Johnson and Wales University, and Central Piedmont Community College. Meantime, Queen’s University remains open and operating on a normal schedule.
The weather is also impacting the Mecklenburg County Courthouse, which canceled all court sessions for the day. The city of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County governments remain open.
7:45 a.m. update
And so it (possibly) begins.
The temperature is dropping and a light snow is now falling in Charlotte. Hardly snowpocalype so far.
But things are expected to change and soon.
The National Weather Service says we could see up to five inches of snow fall in Charlotte today. Three inches are possible in Hickory.
A combination of heavy snow and the possibility of black ice has led to a winter storm warning for the Piedmont and upstate South Carolina until 6 p.m. tonight.
Governor Roy Cooper has declared a state of emergency for North Carolina. He will hold a press conference at 10 a.m. this morning to update the state of the storm.
CMS announced last night that schools would be closed today. Several other schools in the Charlotte area are either closed or operating on a delay this morning.
And Mecklenburg County's emergency homeless shelter is up and running. Officials announced last night the Grady Cole Center would be opened due to an expected shortage of beds at other area shelters. The shelter, however, is scheduled to close at noon Thursday.