Friday the 13th Ice in the Carolinas and Virginia?


We have been watching a potential wintry mix over the past week or so, and it looks like something may come to fruition later this week, as forecasted. The biggest concern is ice, caused by sleet and freezing rain/drizzle. Ice is more dangerous than snow, since even 4-wheel drive vehicles are rendered useless. When a town turns into a skating rink, basically everyone is rendered helpless. The only saving grace would be it if quickly changed over to rain, and that is a possibility.

The Canadian model has been more consistent for showing ice in the western Carolinas and Virginia, where the hills and valleys lock in cold air near the surface. When light precip starts late on Thursday into Friday, these regions have the potential to see some ice before or during rush hour on Friday. Schools and work may be cancelled. Travel Thursday night into Friday could become extremely dangerous, as could even walking.

Canadian Model image courtesy of

The Euro has a brief period of sleet and freezing rain Friday morning before changing over to all rain. Hopefully this is a more likely case. That would mean that temperatures would warm up quickly on Friday and change the ice into a cold rain. This all really depends on surface temperatures and if they are at or below the freezing mark. This is the trickiest part of predicting ice storms, or an ice changeover to rain.

One thing to keep in mind is that ice is extremely hard to predict, even 24 hours in advance. The saving grace, and in all hopefulness, is that the freezing rain/drizzle changes over to all rain. There is no guarantee, however. You should stay with Carolina Weather Authority for the latest this week.



Author: Michael Griffith

I have had a passion for the weather since a very young age and am a degreed meteorologist. I have a Bachelor of Science from Penn State University and a Master's from Plymouth State University. If you ever see me out and about in the Charlotte, NC area, be sure to say hi!