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After a dusting of snow Thursday night and early this morning, the National Weather Service Raleigh bureau has extended a winter storm warning westward.

In its afternoon briefing the NWS said 2 to 4 inches of snow is expected east of Interstate 95 and between 1 to 3 inches is expected between I-95 and Interstate 85. The greatest amounts are expected to the east and northeast. Timing of the storm is expected late this afternoon and especially tonight.

Dangerous road conditions are expected east of Highway 1 and especially east of I-95.

Patchy freezing light rain was expected to develop along and east of I-95 and between 4 and 5 p.m. light snow is expected to expand across the area east of I-95 with accumulations beginning. Patchy light snow or flurries are expected as far west as the Highway 1 corridor.

Confidence is fairly high that snow will accumulate 2 to 4 inches along and east of I-95 this evening.

Sleet and freezing rain will likely mix with snow across the Southern Coastal Plain and will limit snow accumulation depth.

Meanwhile, the North Carolina Department of Transportation said this afternoon officials are pre-treating roads from the Piedmont to the coast and urging people in the path of this next round of winter weather to stay off the roads unless travel is essential.

“It is time to stay put and off the roads,” said State Transportation Secretary J. Eric Boyette. “Please do not put yourself or others in harm’s way. Nothing is worth your life.”

Overnight, central and eastern North Carolina received an early dose of freezing rain and some light snow that left many roads icy on Friday morning, prompting renewed calls for people to stay off the roads.

Department of transportation employees and contract crews have been pretreating roads with brine before Thursday’s round of weather and continued those efforts this morning before a more significant round of freezing rain, snow and sleet is expected to start this afternoon in central and eastern North Carolina.

As of 11 a.m., crews had placed 1.2 million gallons of brine on roads, bridges and overpasses in the eastern two-thirds of the Tar Heel State.   

Officials are extremely concerned about the potential for black ice through the weekend and are urging people to stay off roads for several days until ice on roads and bridges can thaw.

“Please, if you can, stay off the roads,” said N.C. Department of Transportation’s Chief Operating Officer Beau Memory. “We’ll have a lot of work ahead of us in the coming days and our crews need to focus on getting roads safe for travel again.”

Once the storm hits, NCDOT crews will go to work treating accumulating ice with salt and sand and plowing snow. More than 900 transportation workers are working or standing by throughout the weekend to help make roads safe for travel. Like all industries, NCDOT is impacted by COVID-19 and staffing shortages. Transportation officials ask for patience as crews may not be able to respond in certain areas as quickly as in the past.