- Associated Press - Friday, March 10, 2017

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Winter is showing North Carolina it’s not done yet.

The National Weather Service is calling for at least an inch of snow in the piedmont and foothills Saturday and early Sunday. Previous forecasts that called for up to 4 inches in central counties were updated Friday to reflect a change in the storm’s track and its impact. In the mountains, up to 8 inches of snow are possible at higher elevations. A freeze warning is also in effect for parts of the southern piedmont.

“We’ve had a lot of people say ‘I’ve missed my winter this year.’ Well, you’re going to get it,” said Lauren Pisin, meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Greer, South Carolina.

The snow is a prelude to a retreat from the spring-like conditions which has brought flowers out of the ground and led to an early pollen season for allergy sufferers. Once the storm passes, highs across the state next week will only reach the 50s in most places, with lows at or below freezing through the end of next week. Pisin added that another storm may bring additional snow to the North Carolina mountains early next week.

North Carolina’s peach crop is sure to be affected by the cold weather. Ben Williams, an equipment operator at Kalawi Farms in Eagle Springs, says the farm is on the verge of losing a third straight peach crop. Last weekend, overnight temperatures fell to 27 degrees, but the combination of wind machines circulating warm air and the short duration of the cold saved the crop. This weekend, Williams says it’s not looking as promising.

“We’re not feeling too hopeful right now,” Williams said. “We’re going to gas up our wind machines and stay up all night and monitor the temperature and wind and everything. That’s all you can do, pretty much.”

Gina Fernandez, extension specialist at North Carolina State University, said the strawberry crop should survive because farmers can take special precautions to protect it.

“They just know that they have to keep the blankets on the plants, and pull them off during the day when it gets warm enough and then they put them back on at night,” Fernandez said. “It’s something they deal with year after year.”

In South Carolina, Pisin said any snow that falls in the Upstate shouldn’t accumulate.



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