Is it possible NC will experience a nor’easter this weekend? What forecasters are saying

·2 min read
National Weather Service

Meteorologists are predicting a slight chance of snow in Charlotte for the third straight weekend.

Charlotte has a 40% chance of rain and snow Friday, according to the National Weather Service forecast at 10 a.m. Wednesday.

In the central part of the state, 1 to 2 inches of snow are expected and less than an inch in the Sandhills and western Piedmont, according to the N.C. Emergency Management Office.

National forecasters predict the weather is likely to come during a nor’easter that could bring snow, strong winds and flooding to parts of the East Coast this weekend.

What is a nor’easter?

A nor’easter is a storm that travels along mainly the eastern section of North America. The storms are called “nor’easters” because the winds over coastal areas are typically from the northeast, according to the NWS.

The storms nearly always bring precipitation in the form of heavy rain or snow and flooding along the coast. They can occur at any time of the year, but are more likely to happen between September and April.

Past nor’easters, including the Ash Wednesday storm of March 1962 and the New England blizzard in February 1978, caused of billions in damages.

How do nor’easters develop?

In the winter months, the polar jet stream -- a belt of powerful winds -- transports cold air from the Arctic south across the plains of the U.S., then east toward the Atlantic Ocean where warm air from the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean tries to move north.

“The warm waters of the Gulf Stream help keep the coastal waters relatively mild during the winter, which in turn helps warm the cold winter air over the water,” forecasters explain. “This difference in temperature between the warm air over the water and cold Arctic air over the land is the fuel that feeds nor’easters.”

Observer reporter Joe Marusak contributed to this story.

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