Winter weather has made for treacherous roadways in the Piedmont over the last couple of nights.
Barrett Smith is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Raleigh. He says freezing rain is responsible for a number of traffic accidents in Chapel Hill and the Northern Triangle.
Smith says that freezing rain occurs when the air on the ground is colder than the air in the clouds.
“Last night we had temperatures that were in the mid and upper 20s in a lot of areas,” Smith explained. “Just a little bit of light rainfall fell, you know, maybe for 15 to 20 minutes. But it was just enough that when it falls and hits that subfreezing air, and it just froze just right on the roadways and caused some slick spots.”
Temperatures will rise back to the 50s today and tomorrow. But heavy rainstorms will hit North Carolina Saturday night and Sunday. Storms are expected to be especially strong along the coast.
Colder weather and a separate storm system is expected next week.
“We may get a system that could produce some enhanced cloud cover and maybe some flurries,” Smith says. “There are no real indications that we'll actually get a significant snowfall or something that will be accumulating. It looks like more of just a pattern of cold air continuously coming out of Canada.”
Smith says it's unclear whether motorists should brace for more freezing rain.