CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Most of North Carolina's southern tier was already covered in snow Tuesday in advance of a winter storm that forecasters predict will bring even more snow and a significant accumulation of ice in some areas.
The National Weather Service in Greer, S.C., reported the city of Charlotte received 1 inch of snow, enough to coat most grassy areas. Just 40 miles to the north in Statesville on Interstate 77, there had been no snowfall.
Light to moderate snow was reported south of Raleigh in areas including Sampson, Wayne and Cumberland counties. Light snow was reported early in Boone and Monroe, as well as Cherry Point, Hatteras and New Bern in the southeast.
That disparity will change, according to meteorologist Justin Lane.
"It's kind of an appetizer, you can say. The main storm, it's really just starting to get its act together," Lane said. "We're going to get slammed. It's a matter of the details. But it's unavoidable at this point that we're going to see a major winter storm over the area."
In advance of Wednesday's expected onslaught, the National Weather Service posted a winter storm warning from the mountains to the coast. Only counties in the extreme northeast were exempt from the warning.
The snow in Charlotte was expected to taper off by nightfall, only to return at sunrise with from 6 to 11 inches possible. The mountains were expected to see similar amounts beginning at daybreak, while snow was forecast to start in the Triad by midmorning.
Forecasters are also warning of significant icing for central North Carolina. Lane said the sand hills and southern Piedmont could get up to a half-inch of ice, and freezing rain could fall along the Interstate 85 corridor.
"We are advising people to stay off the roads if at all possible," Raleigh meteorologist Shawna Cokley said.
Snowfall was expected to range from about 2 inches on the southern Outer Banks to 8 inches or more in the western mountains.
Gov. Pat McCrory said Tuesday that his goal was to be "over prepared and underwhelmed by the storm" that's expected to affect the entire state with various types of precipitation. McCrory said he signed orders declaring an emergency, freeing state resources to react, and waiving weight restrictions on trucks that carry materials needed to prepare for and recover from the storm.
"The difficulty with this storm, it is very unpredictable," McCrory said.
The N.C. Highway Patrol reports a Carthage woman was killed Tuesday in a wreck that may have been weather related. Authorities say Breanna Lynn Tile, 23, was killed when the car she was riding in went off a snow-covered road near Aberdeen and struck a tree.
The patrol said the driver was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.
WRAL-TV in Raleigh reported that Interstate 95 was shut down in both directions south of Fayetteville because of multiple accidents blamed on the weather. There was no immediate word of injuries.