Governor Declares State of Emergency in Preparation for Snow, Below-Freezing Temperatures

Temperatures and snow are expected to fall on Friday evening and continue into Saturday

Governor Declares State of Emergency in Preparation for Snow, Below-Freezing Temperatures
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January 6, 2017

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has declared a state of emergency for all 100 North Carolina counties due to the impending snowstorm.

Both snow and temperatures are expected to being falling on Friday night, reports The News & Observer. The snow is forecast to continue falling into Saturday morning, while temperatures are expected to drop below freezing and stay there until Tuesday.

Such low temperatures will prevent the snow from melting before the workday commute starts again on Monday.

Cooper is urging people not to drive during and after the storm.

"It's good that we aren't looking at a commuting day Saturday," he said.

Although some models are forecasting up to one foot of snow for the Triangle, National Weather Service meteorologist Shawna Cokley says that it is more likely that the area will see six to eight inches instead.

The weather service has distributed a new prediction tool showing that the majority of the Triangle could collect as much as 12 to 13 inches of snow in certain areas. The forecast predicts at least one to three inches in Orange County, more likely eight to nine.

The least that Durham and Wake counties could receive is two to three inches, but six to eight is more likely according to the forecast.

The forecast for Johnston County predicts only rain until Saturday morning, when conditions are expected to switch to rain and sleet. Some parts could get three to six inches of snow, however.

It is possible that a mix of snow and rain will fall Friday afternoon, but it is not likely before 7pm, when a winter storm warning goes into effect officially.

The cause of the snowstorm is a low-pressure system that formed over the Florida Panhandle and then came northeast in the direction of North Carolina's coast. A cold front from the west is forecast to mix with this system to bring snow to the Triangle and parts north.

According to Cokley, places south and east of the Triangle will see lower snowfall totals because of slightly warmer temperatures. These areas will likely get sleet or rain instead of snow.

"There's that gradient of snow as you move from south to north, and as you move inland," she said.