A significant and possibly "historic" winter storm is pounding North Carolina to central and southern Virginia with heavy snowfall will bring the likelihood of widespread power outages and travel disruptions into early next week.
AccuWeather meteorologists forecast the heaviest snowfall is expected from the southern Appalachians into the western Piedmont of North Carolina and southern Virginia. Snowfall totals could range in the 12 to 18 inches range, especially in the mountains of North Carolina with the possibility of over two feet of snow.
Over 85,000 customers are without power in North Carolina, with around 35,000 people without power in northwestern South Carolina, according to poweroutage.us as of Sunday morning.
The storm will miss major airport hubs of Atlanta, Philadelphia and New York City, but expect airline delays and flight cancellations for the major hub of Charlotte, North Carolina. Meanwhile, many municipalities in the South may find difficulty in handling a winter storm of this magnitude. while travel along portions of Interstate 26, I-40, I-77 and I-81 could grind to a halt.
Some cities that may receive more than a foot of snow include Hickory, Boone, Gastonia, Statesville, Wilkesboro, Morganton, Winston-Salem, Greensboro and Asheville, North Carolina.
On Friday, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency, telling residents to stockpile food and prepare for the worst.
“This weekend isn’t the time to head out to see the winter wonderland. Stay safe where you are,” Cooper said in a statement.
The storm is expected to bring widespread power outages for several days in North Carolina, with the state’s mountainous western region expected to be the hardest hit.
A Duke Energy spokeswoman tweeted that more than 500,000 electricity customers could lose power in North Carolina and South Carolina during the winter event.
Play by Play of storm via AccuWeather:
- 6:14 a.m. EST Sunday: Winter Warning Advisories and Winter Storm Warnings remain in effect for much of eastern North Carolina.
Winter Warning Advisories and Winter Storm Warnings remain in affect for much of eastern North Carolina. Stay careful on the roads this morning. See attached images to gauge how much snow your county will be receiving. pic.twitter.com/WQgGrTVtI2— WNCT (@wnct9) December 9, 2018
- 5:10 a.m. EST Sunday: As heavy snow pummels North Carolina, ice continues to cause problems in Tennessee and is now expanding into Kentucky. In Scottsville, Kentucky, trees are reportedly beginning to sag underneath the weight of the ice.
Here is the most recent snow totals as of 7AM. A range of 7-9"+ has fallen in Watauga County. pic.twitter.com/TABemEUtu4— Chris Mulcahy (@YOURWEATHERMAN) December 9, 2018
- 4:30 a.m. EST Sunday: Over 85,000 customers are without power in North Carolina, with around 35,000 people without power in northwestern South Carolina, according to poweroutage.us.
- 3:45 a.m. EST Sunday: The National Weather Service office in Raleigh, North Carolina, has picked up 1.3 inches of snow since it began falling around 1:30 a.m. EST Sunday. Raleigh-Durham International Airport is currently reporting 0.5 of a mile visibility.
3:10AM - Primary roads are becoming snow covered. Please avoid driving so road crews can remove snow. If you must drive, slow down and use extreme caution. pic.twitter.com/oHsJd8Pn0G— NWS Blacksburg (@NWSBlacksburg) December 9, 2018
- 3:00 a.m. EST Sunday: While ice is winding down in Arkansas at this hour, slippery patches are lingering on the roadways. Anyone heading out to church or running errands on Sunday morning will need to use extreme caution on the roadways.
- 1:35 a.m. EST Sunday: Nearly 40,000 customers are without power in North Carolina as heavy snow and ice falls, according to poweroutage.us. Most of the outages are in southwestern portions of the state, where some of the highest snow totals have been reported. The number of power outages is expected to rise throughout Sunday as the storm continues to pound the area.
Snow and sleet coming down now in downtown Greenville and starting to stick on Main Street. Expect conditions to continue to deteriorate throughout the overnight. #GVLsnow #scwx #winterstorm #yeahthatgreenville pic.twitter.com/PCBYLYhHYP— Greenville County Emergency Management (@GreenvilleCoEM) December 9, 2018
- 11:15 p.m. EST Saturday: As much as 5-7 inches of snow has already fallen in southwestern portions of North Carolina as a major storm ramps up. The snow is leading to deteriorating road conditions, including as far south as Greenville, South Carolina.
Snow and ice are beginning to cover roadways in Northern #PickensCountySC. Tree limbs are starting to become a concern as snow and ice accumulate. Stay home and stay safe! #SnowChains #scwx #WinterStormDiego pic.twitter.com/IEh24C6beA— Pierce Womack (@PierceWomack_) December 9, 2018
- 8:30 p.m. EST Saturday: Road conditions are starting to deteriorate across portions of North Carolina as temperatures drop and snow sticks.
@DukeEnergy has 8,700+ line and tree workers, damage assessors, and support crews gathered and ready for #Diego response. Here in Asheville, 400 trucks at the Agriculture Center with more still rolling in, and crews from as far as Terre Haute, Indiana staged at the outlet mall. pic.twitter.com/g1R5G2KQPm— Bill Norton (@DE_BillNorton) December 8, 2018
- 12:00 p.m. EST Friday: The North Carolina Department of Transportation has prepared for the storm by anti-icing roads.
@NCDOT Sec. Jim Trogden:— NC Emergency Managem (@NCEmergency) December 8, 2018
Crews have place 1.1 million anti-icing gallons since yesterday. Will transition crews to snowplows as storm hits.
- Friday: North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has declared a state of emergency and is urging residents to prepare for the winter storm.