CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - NC Governor Roy Cooper issued a State of Emergency Friday ahead of a significant winter storm that began impacting the state, and the WBTV viewing area, on Saturday.
By Sunday morning cold rain, sleet, and snow were falling in areas across NC, and it is expected to continue.
Cooper updated the public about the storm on Sunday morning, reporting that over 170,000 North Carolinians were without power and that that number was expected to increase.
The governor stressed that people stay off the roads at all costs and noted that the NC Highway Patrol had already responded to over 500 collisions and 1000 calls for service in the past day alone.
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Multiple closings and delays were announced as the storm moved in. Saturday afternoon, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools announced all activities and facilities would be closed on Sunday because of the weather.
American Airlines canceled thousands of flights through Monday as well.
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The National Weather Service issued a Winter Storm Warning for portions of the mountains from 7 p.m. Saturday to noon Monday.
A Winter Storm Warning means significant amounts of snow, sleet, and ice will make travel very hazardous or impossible.
The Winter Storm Watch that was in effect for much of western and central North Carolina, as well as York County, SC, starting Saturday evening or early Sunday morning through Monday night was upgraded to a Winter Storm Warning Friday afternoon.
The National Weather Service is expecting moderate to heavy precipitation to continue to fall as a mixture of snow, sleet, and freezing rain across the region with accumulations expected to be greatest in western North Carolina.
Snow and sleet accumulations of 10 to 18 inches with a light glaze of ice are possible, according to the NWS.
Travel could become very difficult or even impossible. Road conditions could deteriorate as early as Saturday night, with highway travel continuing to be impacted through early next week.
Below is a list of North Carolina counties that have been placed under the Winter Storm Warning starting Saturday.
- Alexander County, NC
- Iredell County, NC
- Davie County, NC
- Catawba County, NC- HAS DECLARED STATE OF EMERGENCY
- Rowan County, NC
- Cleveland County, NC
- Lincoln County, NC
- Gaston County, NC
- Mecklenburg County, NC
- Cabarrus County, NC
- Union County, NC
- Caldwell County, NC
- Burke County, NC
- eastern McDowell County, NC
- Rutherford County, NC
- eastern Polk County, NC
- York County, SC