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The Latest: Cooper Declares State Of Emergency To Help Crews Responding To Power Outages

Nick de la Canal

Updated: Sunday at 4:30 p.m.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper issued a State of Emergency Sunday afternoon in an effort to help utility workers restore power lost in western and central parts of the state impacted by this weekend’s winter weather.

In addition to his declaration Sunday afternoon, Cooper also waived restrictions on truck weight, size and hours of service — restrictions that he says may have hindered the movement of any resource needed to respond to the storm. With the restrictions waived, the governor says that vehicles carrying essential supplies and equipment, and utility trucks working to restore power, can get where they need to quickly.

According to the state Department of Public Safety, there are over 98,000 outages statewide — with the most concentrated number of outages in Forsyth, Henderson and Rockingham Counties.

Cooper says residents should still heed caution going into their work week.

“Though the worst of the storm is over, conditions are still hazardous in areas that saw snow and ice," Cooper said. “If you are without power, please be careful if you are using alternative heat sources. Slow down if you're driving in areas where roads may be slick, and watch out for patchy black ice tomorrow morning, especially north and west of I-85."  

In the Charlotte area, wintry precipitation is no longer expected. Lows reach 33 degrees going into Sunday evening, so the National Weather Service is warning drivers of melted ice that could refreeze on roads. Monday will be mostly cloudy, with highs near 44 degrees. No hazardous weather is expected and roads should be fine going into the work week. 

Updated: Sunday at 1:50 p.m.

Freezing rain and sleet this weekend have knocked out power to northwestern North Carolina residents and businesses.

Duke Energy reports roughly 117,000 customers in the region were without electricity as of 1:50 p.m. Sunday, with more than half the outages reported in the Greensboro and Winston-Salem area. Other swaths of outages were reported largely in the mountains in and around Asheville. Duke Energy was assessing the damage Sunday to determine restoration times.

Fifty-six customers are without power in Mecklenburg County, Duke says with estimated restoration times of 10 p.m. Sunday night.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper warned residents in a post to Twitter Sunday afternoon to heed caution while traveling on the roads the next few days, but assured drivers that crews are "working hard to... keep our roads safe." As of Sunday afternoon, roads around the Charlotte area are fine.

The National Weather Service reported close to a half-inch of ice in some sections of western North Carolina, leading to fallen trees and power lines. The remainder of the state received mostly a cold rain or freezing precipitation that caused few problems.

The winter weather is part of a weekend storm that brought several inches of snow to Virginia and Maryland.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Updated: Sunday at 9 a.m.

A light dose of wintry precipitation is possible Sunday in the Charlotte region. Along with rain and drizzle, the National Weather Service has posted a Winter Weather Advisory for possible freezing rain – with little or no accumulation expected around Charlotte. 

There’s a Winter Storm warning in the foothills and mountains, where forecasters say some ice accumulation is possible.   

Updated: Saturday at 3:10 p.m.

A winter storm may bring a dusting of snow to areas of the North Carolina mountains and foothills this weekend, while other areas of the piedmont, including Charlotte, could see varying levels of sleet and freezing rain.

Credit Tom Bullock/WFAE News

The low-pressure system is expected to begin spreading snow and sleet across parts of northern and northwestern North Carolina Saturday afternoon, transitioning to freezing rain overnight Saturday through Sunday. The winter weather could linger into Monday in some areas.

The highest snow totals are expected in higher elevations of the mountains, including areas of Avery County and the Pisgah National Forest. The National Weather Service says around 2.5 inches of snow is expected in Newland. Mount Mitchell could see up to four inches.

Lesser amounts of snow and sleet are expected in areas north of Charlotte, including Mooresville, Statesville and Salisbury. The National Weather Service is forecasting less than an inch of accumulation in those towns, though freezing rain will likely turn to ice Saturday night, leaving a dangerous glaze over tree branches, overpasses, and bridges.

A wintry mix is also possible in western North Carolina, including near Hendersonville and Asheville. The Weather Service projects less than an inch of accumulation of snow and sleet Saturday, with freezing rain Sunday.

In Charlotte, rain is expected to move in during the evening. That could change over to freezing rain early Sunday morning.  The National Weather Service expects little to no accumulation, though even a trace of ice could make roads slick Sunday morning. Freezing rain is expected to turn to rain later Sunday morning in the metro area, with a chance of patchy rain and sleet Sunday night. The Charlotte area is under a winter weather advisory until 7:00 p.m. Sunday.