Wintry weather is forecast for the Outer Banks — and much of eastern North Carolina — on Friday as a cold air mass remains in place while an area of low pressure over the southeastern states will strengthen and move along the coast tomorrow.
Depending on the path of the low pressure, you could see 1 to 3 inches of snow, or you could see just a touch of snow, along with sleet, freezing rain, and rain. The chances for snow are higher on the northern Outer Banks.
The National Weather Service in Newport/Morehead City this morning issued a winter weather warning for Dare County Outer Banks and a winter weather advisory for Hyde County Outer Banks. Both are in effect from 7 a.m. until midnight on Friday
According to the warning, light precipitation will develop from south to north across eastern North Carolina, beginning early tomorrow morning continuing into late evening.
High temperatures will rise to about 40 on the Outer Banks today and then fall into the upper 20s tonight. Tomorrow’s highs are forecast to be in the upper 30s to around 40 on southern Hatteras and Ocracoke.
With cold air in place, precipitation is expected to fall in the form of mostly snow over areas north of Highway 264 with a mixture of rain, sleet, snow and freezing rain possible on the southern Outer Banks, including Hatteras and Ocracoke.
The Weather Service said this afternoon that the precipitation will start between 7 and 9 a.m. on southern Hatteras and Ocracoke as a snow/sleet/freezing rain mix before transitioning to all rain and then back to a wintry mix before ending in the early evening.
On the northern Outer Banks, precipitation will begin later — between 9 and 11 a.m. as snow and transition to a sleet/freezing rain mix before ending in the evening.
The Weather Service says that accumulations of snow and ice are likely, especially over the northern areas Friday into Friday night and dangerous travel conditions may develop.
A strong cold front will cross the Outer Banks on Friday night and frigid Arctic air will plunge into the region for the weekend.
High temperatures are forecast to be slightly above freezing on Saturday and mostly at or just below freezing on Sunday. Low temperatures in the upper 20s are expected Saturday night and the low 20s Sunday night.
“The cold temperatures will be dangerous,” warns Dare County Emergency Management director Drew Pearson. “Bring pets indoors, protect water pipes from freezing, and always dress for the weather with proper winter outerwear to include hats, gloves, scarves, and warm socks if you need to be outside.”
Pearson also reminds islanders that cold temperatures also place high demands on electrical service providers, which could lead to outages.
“Do your best to manage personal electrical use during this cold snap,” he says. “Doing so may keep your neighborhood from going dark. If you use space heaters at home, do so with safety in mind by ensuring fuel burning units are properly ventilated and electric units are properly wired. ”
Winds will pick up to the north and northwest behind the front and are expected to peak on Saturday night at 20 to 25 mph with some gusts to gale force — well below the wind gusts we saw last Sunday.
Temperatures are expected to warm up on Monday with highs around 50, which is still below average for mid-February.
For updated forecasts and more information, go to the NWS website at www.weather.gov/mhx or the Newport/Morehead City Facebook Page.
Click here to see this afternoon’s entire winter weather briefing from the National Weather Service.