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Weather

Black ice warnings replace snow warnings as NC prepares for overnight freeze

By Aaron Moody

amoody@newsobserver.com

December 09, 2017 10:27 AM

As a band of wintry weather ran its course in North Carolina Saturday afternoon weather officials shifted focus to what’s in store overnight.

The National Weather Service canceled snow-related warnings and advisories ahead of their 4 p.m. cutoff time and issued new advisories for a culprit that often goes unnoticed.

“Any water that does not evaporate from the precipitation today will quickly freeze as temperatures fall into the 20s tonight,” the NWS said in its update for central North Carolina.

That’s likely to result in black ice, which is often clear with the black road surface showing through.

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As the current band of precip moves east, and skies clear, temps will fall to below freezing this eve. Temps will then fall more abruptly, into the 20s, with the passage of a cold front overnight. A threat of black ice, and/or refreezing of snow/slush where it fell, will result. pic.twitter.com/xHpz6EtRo2

— NWS Raleigh (@NWSRaleigh) December 9, 2017

The advisories follow significant snowfall in western North Carolina, and anywhere from moderate to nonexistent precipitation in parts of central N.C. They warn of potentially dangerous travel conditions caused by snow-covered roads and black ice.

Advisories are in effect from 7 p.m. Saturday until 10 a.m. Sunday for the mountains, and from 10 p.m. Saturday to 10 a.m. Sunday for the foothills and Piedmont.

A National Weather Service forecast map as of 7 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 9, showing expected snowfall in central North Carolina through 8 p.m. Monday, Dec. 11, 2017.
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE

In the Piedmont, “refreezing of residual snow, slush and water (is) expected as skies clear late evening,” the NWS said. “Bridges, overpasses, parking lots and sidewalks will be most prone for icing.”

Several deer feed in the front yard of photographer Greg Stewart between Pittsboro and Siler City, NC as snow falls Friday. A winter weather system moved into the area, dropping several inches of snow in western North Carolina. Greg Stewart

In the mountains, “refreezing of roads will occur, resulting in the development of widespread black ice,” the update said. “Be prepared for very slippery roadways. Some roads that appear clear may be covered by a thin layer of ice.”

Judi Sawyer captured this video as a crew from Grandfather Mountain travelled up the lower section of the park's road to check on conditions during a winter storm Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. www.grandfather.com Judi Sawyer | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

Black ice is also possible in counties south and east of the Triangle through Sunday morning.

“If you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency,” the NWS said.

People can also call 511 for the latest updates on road conditions in the state.

Here is ABC11’s list of closings and delays. And make sure to visit our weather page for the latest video forecast.