- Associated Press - Friday, December 8, 2017

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Falling snow and icy roads in North Carolina closed local government offices and schools, sent cars sliding off the road and altered the governor’s travel plans Friday.

Forecasters said heavy snow was falling in the mountainous western part of the state. The National Weather Service said reports from observers indicated that more than 6 inches (15 centimeters) had fallen in parts of Buncombe County, which includes Asheville, and several other areas.

To the east, snow fell in Greensboro and Durham, with forecasters saying an inch or so of frozen accumulation could occur in a swath of the central part of the state.

A winter storm warning was in effect for counties along and east of the Blue Ridge Parkway with up to seven inches in some locations. To the east, the warning called for up to 5 inches (13 centimeters) in the Triad and northern piedmont. The warning was set to expire Saturday afternoon.

Utility officials reported around 15,000 customers without power as of late afternoon, with more than half of that total in Buncombe and Henderson counties.

Gov. Roy Cooper postponed a roundtable discussion on opioids in nearby Waynesville because of the weather.

Cooper issued a news release saying that state trucks had brined roads in the western part of the state. He also noted that at least a dozen school systems had closed. The impact was expected to be less for counties in the eastern and southern parts of the state, but he warned people to be vigilant.

“We know that winter weather in the South is notoriously difficult to predict, and forecasts can change in a matter of hours,” he said.

Highway Patrol Master Trooper Christopher Knox said in an email that troopers “are seeing numerous collisions in the western part of the state,” and the agency was compiling numbers on them. The numbers were not available Friday evening.

The Asheville Citizen-Times reported that one person was taken to a hospital after a collision Friday morning near Sylva.

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