Forecast: Snow for mountains, freeze for Charlotte

Snow and freezing rain could blanket parts of the North Carolina mountains, a deep freeze could settle in Charlotte and near-arctic lows may chill the Triangle this week, the National Weather Service warned Saturday.

The wintry weather forecast follows flooding in parts of the mountains from Tropical Depression Nicole. The storm dumped heavy rains in the mountains and prompted a tornado watch across much of the state Friday, after barreling into the Carolinas from Georgia and Florida.

“We have reports of streams flooding and closing roadways from Polk County north toward Avery County in North Carolina,” the NWS office in Greer, South Carolina, reported on Twitter at 5 p.m. Friday. “Drive with caution if traveling across the NC mountain highways this evening.”

The highest amounts fell in Watauga County, with Foscoe reporting 4.84 inches of rain over 24 hours and Blowing Rock 4.39 inches, meteorologist Doug Outlaw of the NWS Greer office told The Charlotte Observer on Saturday.

River and creek levels began to recede overnight and the NWS office received no further reports of flooding, Outlaw said.

Most of the mountains can now expect a wintry mix late Monday and part of Tuesday, according to an NWS hazardous weather outlook bulletin Saturday morning.

Precipitation could begin “as a wintry mix of snow, sleet, and/or freezing rain, before transitioning to mainly rain, with some freezing rain possible through around midday Tuesday,” according to the bulletin.

“Light wintry accumulations may occur in some of the North Carolina mountains, before changing over to all rain,” NWS meteorologists said in the alert.

Subfreezing Charlotte temps forecast

Low temperatures in Charlotte, meanwhile, could twice plummet to below freezing by the end of the work week, according to the NWS forecast at 11 a.m. Saturday.

After an expected low of 41 early Sunday, Charlotte could see a subfreezing low of 31 early Monday, according to the forecast. Freezing begins at 32 degrees.

Lows should temporarily improve, to 35 early Tuesday and 40 early Wednesday, before falling to 36 early Thursday and 30 early Friday

Highs in Charlotte are predicted to drop from Saturday’s 71 degrees to 52 Sunday, 50 Monday and 44 Tuesday, then back up to 55 Wednesday before falling again, to 50 Thursday and 47 Friday, the forecast showed.

Charlotte has an 80% chance of showers Tuesday, but skies should remain sunny to mostly sunny other days of the week, NWS meteorologists said.

Cold in the Triangle, too

The Triangle has a 70% chance of showers returning on Tuesday but should likewise remain sunny to partly cloudy the rest of the week, according to the 11 a.m. Saturday forecast.

The lowest lows in the Triangle are expected early Tuesday at 35 degrees and early Thursday and early Friday at 36 degrees, the forecast showed.

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Joe Marusak has been a reporter for The Charlotte Observer since 1989 covering the people, municipalities and major news events of the region, and was a news bureau editor for the paper. He currently reports on breaking news.

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