RALEIGH, N.C. — The Latest on cold weather in North Carolina (all times local):
State officials are making preparations ahead of a winter storm expected to impact the eastern third of North Carolina.
The National Weather Service upgraded a winter storm watch on Tuesday to a winter weather advisory, effective from noon Wednesday until Thursday morning. Forecasters said the storm could leave up to 3 inches of snow in the easternmost counties.
Gov. Roy Cooper said a small change in a storm’s track can make a big difference in how much snow falls and where. Cooper is encouraging families and businesses to get ready.
Motorists in areas hit by the winter storm are being told to expect treacherous driving conditions overnight Wednesday and into Thursday morning.
Duke Energy says more than 8,500 of its customers in North Carolina and South Carolina are without power as cold weather continues its grip on the two states.
Of the total reported Tuesday afternoon, 8,363 outages are in North Carolina, and 6,039 are in Henderson County. The utility says 1,174 outages are reported in Randolph County.
By comparison, Greenville County in South Carolina has 92 customer outages.
The cold weather is expected to linger into the weekend, and the National Weather Service says snow is possible for eastern and coastal areas in both states.
The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch for much of eastern North Carolina.
The watch is in effect for Wednesday, and forecasters say areas east of Interstate 95 will see measurable snowfall.
A statement from the weather service office in Raleigh said the heaviest snow will fall between 9 p.m. and midnight Wednesday.
The forecast says up to 3 inches (7 cm) of snow is possible along and east of a line from Scotland Neck to Rocky Mount to Goldsboro. However, forecasters also painted a worst-case scenario which has precipitation falling as far west as Greensboro and Albemarle.
Once the snow stops, forecasters are warning of ice on streets and highways.
It is bitterly cold across North Carolina and forecasters say snow could be coming to the eastern part of the state later this week.
The National Weather Service issued a wind chill advisory for 75 of the state’s 100 counties for Tuesday morning. Wind chill readings as low as minus-15 were expected in the mountains. A reading of 2 was reported in New Bern, with 13 in Raleigh.
Many schools planned to open two hours later than usual because of the cold.
Duke Energy reported about 6,300 customers without service Tuesday morning. The most serious problems were reported Lee and Randolph counties, west and southwest of Raleigh.
A winter storm watch was reported in 33 counties. Snow was possible Wednesday with up to 4 inches expected along the coast.