Cold air Thursday sets stage for possible wild winter weekend

— Cold air filtering into the Triangle on Thursday morning is setting the stage for the possibility of inches of snow in central and eastern North Carolina, but the exact amount is still uncertain.

Morning temperatures were down roughly 15 to 20 degrees from the same time on Wednesday—Raleigh began Thursday day at 35 degrees. Computer forecast models, though, still aren’t in agreement on how much snow will fall.

“Is there going to be enough snow for sledding? Well, it’s certainly possible,” said WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner. “But I don’t want to say it’s a done deal by any means.

“There’s still some computer models that are holding out that we may not see very much.”

Some computer models give Fayetteville, Raleigh and counties to the northeast a 70-80 percent chance of getting at least 1 inch of snow. Those same counties have a 50-70 percent chance of seeing at least 4 inches.

Most of the snow, though, is concentrated to the east of Raleigh.

“Because it’s going to be a coastal system, folks in Roxboro, which tends to be the snowfall capital of our viewing area, may be the ones who just don’t see as much,” Gardner said. “The farther north and west you are, the less snow you may see compared to the rest of the viewing area.”

At least one model gives the most northeastern counties a 40 percent chance of seeing 8 inches of snow.

Snow probability, at least 8 inches, Jan. 5, 2017

Though the computer models vary widely, Gardner said they are mostly trending in the same direction.

“We can look at the numbers in a lot of different ways,” Gardner said, “but the bottom line is most of the numbers are certainly pointing to a fairly significant snowfall for at least parts of our viewing area.”

A special thank you to our friends at WRAL for helping out with this post.

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