Winter Weather and Severe Storms Threaten North Carolina Today

Last Updated on February 12, 2022 6:46 pm

RALEIGH: While today officially marks the end of the 2020 Hurricane Season, other types of weather are threatening North Carolina, as a winter storm affects western counties and severe storms are possible in the East.

“Today is a day where people across North Carolina need to be especially aware of changing weather conditions,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “Those in the west need to be ready for winter weather, while rain and winds could bring treacherous conditions in the east.”

Mountain Snow

A Winter Storm Warning is in effect for higher elevations in most counties along the Tennessee/North Carolina border through noon Tuesday as the first significant snow or the season is expected. Total snow accumulations of 6-10” is possible at elevations above 3,500ft along the border. 

  • Snowfall began at higher elevations earlier this morning and is expected to spread northeast across higher elevations throughout the day. Snow levels will fall through the afternoon, reaching the valleys by this evening. 

A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect for lower elevations (< 3,500ft.) for most counties along the Tennessee/North Carolina border through noon Tuesday and Ashe and Watauga Counties through 4 p.m. Tuesday afternoon.  

Snow and blowing snow is expected with total snow accumulations up to 4” at higher elevations and 1-3” at lower elevations further south along the border. An inch or two is expected at lower elevations. 

Severe Storms

The eastern half of NC is under a Marginal Risk (Level 1 of 5) or Slight Risk (Level 2 of 5) for severe weather today as a cold front moves through the region. The cold front is expected to move across central NC this morning and portions of eastern NC early this afternoon. The strongest storms are expected largely east of the Interstate 95 corridor where a Slight Risk for severe weather remains today. The primary impacts with any severe weather that develops today will be damaging wind gusts and isolated tornadoes but the severe weather threat is expected to move out of the region by late afternoon. 

Wind Impacts

A Wind Advisory is in effect for the eastern half of the state until 1 p.m. for central NC and 4 p.m. for eastern NC. A 1-3 hour surge of strong southwesterly winds of 15-25 mph and gusts up to 55 mph will move across the region. Gusts will develop near the SC border by mid-morning and move northeast toward the VA border by this afternoon. The greatest wind gusts are expected to move out of central NC by early afternoon and late afternoon for the east.

  • Winds could blow around unsecure objects, tree limbs and a few trees could be blown down with some power outage possible.
  • Gusty winds will continue at higher elevations in the west where wind chills around 0°F are possible.

Coastal Impacts

Coastal Flood Advisories are in effect for the northeast, northern Outer Banks, Hatteras Island and New Hanover County. Shallow flooding is expected as 1-2 ft. of inundation above ground level is possible in low-lying areas near shorelines and adjacent sounds and rivers.

  • The NE will remain under an advisory from 10AM this morning through 6PM this evening. 
  • The Northern Outer Banks and Hatteras Island will remain under an advisory from 7 a.m. this morning through 11 a.m. Tuesday.

High Surf Advisories are in effect for the Crystal Coast Beaches, Ocracoke Island, Core Banks Beaches, and Hatteras Island through 4 a.m. Tuesday. Dangerous swimming conditions are expected and localize beach erosion is likely.

To help ensure you are ready for winter weather, North Carolina Emergency Management officials urge you to:

  • Always keep at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food in your home. 
  • Keep fresh batteries on hand for weather radios and flashlights.
  • Dress warmly. Wear multiple layers of thin clothing instead of a single layer of thick clothing.
  • Properly vent kerosene heaters and keep any electric generators outside and away from any open windows or doors to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Do not burn charcoal indoors. 
  • Use a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather radio or a weather alert app to monitor for changing weather conditions. 
  • Keep alternative heating sources and fire extinguishers on hand. Be sure your family knows how to use them. 
  • Store an emergency kit in your vehicle. Include scraper, jumper cables, tow chain, sand/salt, blankets, flashlight, first aid kit and road map.

If you must travel during winter weather, emergency officials remind motorists to drive safely. It’s important to leave plenty of room between you and other vehicles and if driving on snow or ice covered roadways, reduce speed. If conditions worsen, be sure to pull off the highway and remain in your vehicle. 

Be sure to take steps to ensure pets are safe this winter: 

  • Check under your warming car for animals and wipe your pets’ paws after walks to remove chemicals.
  • Make an emergency supplies kit for your pet. 
  • Do not leave pets outside for long periods of time.
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