Forecasters expect snow to start about midday

slyttle@charlotteobserver.comJanuary 27, 2014 

  • School closings

    These school systems have made changes in their schedule Tuesday, due to the expected storm:

    Chester County ... closing at 11 a.m.

    Chesterfield County ... closed

    Gaston Day ... closing at noon

    Lancaster County ... closing at 10:30 a.m.

    Rock Hill ... closing at noon (elementary schools) and 1 p.m. (middle and high schools)

    United Faith Christian ... closing at 12:30 p.m.

Winter weather advisories and winter storm warnings are in effect for what is expected to be Charlotte’s first snowfall of the season Tuesday.

The National Weather Service said it expects 1 or 2 inches to accumulate in the city, but 1 or 2 additional inches could fall in Charlotte’s eastern and southern suburbs.

The snow is expected to begin around midday and reach its peak intensity from late afternoon into the evening hours. Forecasters say the evening commute could be hazardous throughout the region.

Some school systems already have announced they will close early. Those incvlude the Chester County, Lancaster County and Rock Hill systems.

Overnight, the National Weather Service expanded the winter weather advisory – the area where and inch or two of snow is expected – to include Alexander, Burke, Caldwell, Catawba, Cleveland, Iredell and Rutherford counties.

The heavier snow will fall south and east of Charlotte.

A winter storm warning for 2 to 4 inches is in effect for Union, Anson and Richmond counties in North Carolina, and for Chesterfield, Lancaster, Kershaw and Chester counties in South Carolina.

That is part of a vast area of winter storm warnings that stretches from Louisiana to the Carolinas coast. Heavy snow of 6 inches or more could fall in eastern North Carolina and in the Midlands of South Carolina.

Meanwhile, authorities along the South Carolina and Georgia coasts are bracing for a potentially devastating ice storm. In fact, ice storm warnings are posted for the Charleston area.

Authorities began preparing Monday, when temperatures were in the 60s, for the area’s first significant snowstorm in three years.

The N.C. Department of Transportation said its trucks spread salt brine on area highways across Mecklenburg, Cabarrus, Union, Anson and Stanly counties Monday afternoon. Jen Thompson, a spokeswoman for the DOT, said engineers will expand their plans as needed.

Charlotte DOT trucks also were scheduled to spread brine Monday afternoon and evening.

And in South Carolina, DOT engineer Brad Trout said crews also would spread brine on roads in York, Chester and Lancaster counties and would be ready with additional equipment.

The state House and Senate in South Carolina cancelled their sessions this week because of the heavy snow expected in Columbia. A winter storm watch is in effect there.

Winter storm watches and warnings are posted from east Texas all the way across the Deep South to the Carolinas coast, and it appears as if the weather system will bring snow, sleet and freezing rain to places that rarely see it, including New Orleans, the Florida Panhandle, and coastal sections of Georgia and South Carolina.

There are fears that the portion of the storm producing freezing rain could cause major damage.

“The storm has the potential to rival damage and the number of (power) outages from the southern ice storm of Feb. 10-11, 1994,” said Kristina Pydynowski, a meteorologist with Accu-Weather, a private weather company.

That storm knocked out power to 800,000 customers.

Jenny Zou of the (Rock Hill) Herald contributed.

Lyttle: 704-358-6107; Twitter: @slyttle

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