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Ice storm Wednesday night could be the worst yet in and around Winston-Salem
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Ice storm Wednesday night could be the worst yet in and around Winston-Salem

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The winter storm expected to come through Forsyth County on Wednesday night could be the worst this season for the area, with more power outages and dangerous roads that could make driving "nearly impossible" on Thursday.

National Weather Service meteorologist Nick Petro said Forsyth County could get a quarter-inch of ice accumulation or more in places.

"Once you get to a quarter-inch, that is the magic number that it takes to see downed trees and power lines," Petro said. "... Whatever you had last week, it will be that much and a little bit more."

Recent freezing rain in Forsyth left trees glazed with ice and made elevated surfaces such as bridges slick, but the ground and roads remained generally clear.

Recent storms also were followed by slight daytime warming that cleared out a lot of the ice, but forecasters said the Wednesday night storm could persist with freezing rain during the day Thursday.

Forecasters said the ice could start to accumulate after midnight Wednesday and early Thursday morning.

In Guilford County, the threat of ice is considered significant, forecasters said.

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By 7 a.m. Thursday, forecasters said, freezing rain could spread across the Interstate 40 and Interstate 85 corridors in a broad zone stretching from Cleveland and Lincoln counties in the southwest to southern Virginia as far east as I-85.

Forecasters said the rain would be somewhat lighter Thursday morning but is likely to intensify Thursday afternoon before ending Thursday night.

The National Weather Service office in Blacksburg, Va., which forecasts for parts of Northwest North Carolina, issued what can only be seen as a "go buy bread and milk" directive for its winter storm watch areas:

"Prepare now so travel will not be necessary Wednesday night through Friday," forecasters said.

Davie and other counties to the west of Forsyth are not predicted to get heavy ice and are not under the winter storm watch, but the watch area in Virginia includes Carroll, Patrick and Henry counties and points north.

Forecasters said Wednesday should be mostly sunny with a high of 41 in Forsyth, but don't let that fool you. Storm clouds will move in Wednesday night and bring rain followed by freezing rain, with an overnight low of 31.

Forsyth's temperature could be stuck around 33 degrees all day Thursday and into Thursday night, although forecasters warn that pinning down an exact temperature is hard.

Weather forecasters have issued a winter storm watch stretching from Forsyth to Durham County and including the heavily traveled I-40 and I-85 corridors. I-85 travelers will have to contend with winter weather in Granville, Vance and Warren counties as well. The winter storm watch also includes Stokes, Rockingham, Caswell and Person counties.

336-727-7369 

@wyoungWSJ

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