Freezing drizzle, black ice in today’s forecast

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Motorists maneuver around a downed tree on Shipyard Boulevard. Photo by Jonathan Spiers.

While early forecasts looked like Saturday would deliver a mix of wintry weather to other parts of the state, the latest report is warning inland New Hanover county residents of freezing drizzle and black ice.

As of 5:30 a.m. Saturday, the National Weather Service has included Wilmington, Leland and Shallotte in its winter weather advisory as temperatures haven’t quite edged upward enough to avoid icy conditions.

Residents should expect black ice, freezing drizzle, some snow showers and sleet this morning. Conditions are expected to improve around noon, but motorists are urged to slow down and use caution, especially on bridges and overpasses that freeze first.

Snow accumulation of less than an inch is expected.

Conditions may become hazardous Saturday night, when temperatures are expected to drop to the high 20s and water on roadways will freeze, according to Steve Pfaff, National Weather Service warning coordination meteorologist in the Wilmington NWS office.

That cold spell will be short-lived, however, as Sunday will bring sunshine and a high temperature in the upper 40s. The weather will only improve for the next couple of days, with temperatures expected to reach the low 60s Tuesday under partly sunny skies.

The Winter Weather Advisory is in effect until noon Saturday for Darlington, Dillon, Florence, inland Horry, Marion, Marlboro, Bladen, Columbus, inland Pender and Robeson counties.

Along the coast there is a narrow corridor and marginal risk for severe weather, including an isolated tornado or damaging wind gusts. Pfaff’s report said most of the stronger thunderstorms associated with this weather are expected to remain off the coast.

Boaters are advised that the combination of strengthening offshore winds following the storm and the full moon’s tide may create hazardous navigation conditions due to atypically shallow conditions on either side of each low tide Saturday and Sunday.