Folks in the Catawba Valley have a chance to see snow on Friday — but how much?
That is the question Scotty Powell, Carolina Weather Group meteorologist, has been studying for the past several days.
“All of Catawba County should see some snow. Areas south of Highway 10 will see snow, but there won’t be as much accumulation,” Powell said. He added that the forecast begins with rain at midnight and transitions to a snow mixture by sunrise on Friday.
“This will be a heavy, wet snow,” Powell explained. “We could see it stick to trees and power lines. The main roads will be wet, and side roads could get snow covered.”
This may impact travel on Friday morning. The National Weather Service issued a winter storm watch for areas in the Catawba Valley, effective from Thursday evening to Friday night. Areas included in the watch are the western North Carolina mountains, northern foothills, and northwest Piedmont of the state.
“Some models have slowed the storm down and we could see it lasting until 4-6 p.m. on Friday,” Powell said. “If it does last longer, it will get colder and more areas will see increased accumulations.”
Powell said locations along Interstate 40 will see mostly snow with a rain mixture. “If you live in McDowell, Burke, Alexander and Caldwell you should stay mostly snow,” he continued. “Once we get into Catawba, Lincoln and Iredell counties we could see a little more mixing.”
Powell shared a snowfall map that shows the majority of Catawba and Alexander counties in the 1-3 inch range, and the southern portion of Catawba in the 0-2 inch range for snow accumulation. McDowell, Burke, and Caldwell counties are in the 1-3 inch range as well with a few northwestern areas in the 3-6 inch range.
He said accumulation in Catawba County depends on the deformation band. “A deformation band is a band of intense precipitation normally where the coldest air is,” Powell explained. “This band is set up around areas north of Interstate 40. If it’s strong enough, we could see more than three inches of snow in some of those locations.”
As precipitation ends on Friday evening, temperatures will begin to drop. “Friday night and Saturday morning will be more treacherous,” Powell said. “It could be more icy, which could lead to more travel concerns.” Temperatures will be in the 20s on Saturday morning.
Emily Willis is a general assignment and education reporter at the Hickory Daily Record.