North Carolina Is About to Get Slammed by 16 Inches of Snow

(Bloomberg) -- Parts of North Carolina are expected to get more snow this weekend than they typically see in an entire year.

Western parts of the state could get 10 to 16 inches (25 to 41 centimeters) or more, as a system that’s currently over south Texas intensifies and collides with cold air as it moves into the southeast, according to the National Weather Service. Snowfall totals may be higher in some areas -- Asheville, which normally records about 10 inches of snow a season, may get 17 inches from Saturday evening through Sunday afternoon. Charlotte may get as much as 12 inches.

After suffering through hurricanes in September and October, it could be deja vu all over again for residents, power providers and pig farmers. The state’s largest utility is warning of extensive power outages and farmers are taking precautions to protect livestock.

“The amount of snow that could fall on western North Carolina, that’s not something you see every day,” said Nick Vita, a meteorologist with Commodity Weather Group. The heaviest snowfall should be from about 2 a.m. Sunday until mid-afternoon.

Governor Roy Cooper expects to declare a state of emergency Friday.

Duke Energy Corp., with 3.4 million customers in North Carolina, is projecting 500,000 outages as a result of the storm. It warned of “widespread, multiple-day power outages” and hazardous travel conditions that may slow power-restoration efforts. The storm is also expected to dump sleet and freezing rain across the region.

Charlotte, North Carolina-based Duke said it has more than 8,700 line and tree workers, damage assessors and support personnel ready to respond, according to a statement Friday.

In September, Duke faced Hurricane Florence, and a month later Hurricane Michael, the strongest storm to hit the U.S. mainland since 1992. The storms knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of customers in the Carolinas.

More than six inches of snow, or a quarter of an inch of ice accumulation, can cause branches to sag and trees to fall, bringing down power lines with them, Duke said.

"There remains a lot of uncertainty with this storm," Duke chief meteorologist Nick Keener said in the statement. "A slight change in the storm’s track or in the temperature could result in fewer or even more outages."

The storm could also create logistical headaches for farmers in the state, one of the nation’s top pork producers. Farmers that house pigs outdoors are taking precautions like ensuring ample feed is on hand, Andy Curliss, head of the North Carolina Pork Council, said in an email.

“When you have hogs raised on pasture, these types of events are pretty big,” said Jamie Ager, co-owner of Hickory Nut Gap Farm in Fairview, North Carolina. Ager said he’ll be checking his pigs frequently to make sure they stay warm and have ample water. “It’s not good for the physiology of an animal to get super, super cold.”

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