CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Light snow moved into the Charlotte metro region Friday afternoon, heralding the arrival of what is forecast to be a major winter storm across much of the Carolinas.
Winter storm and ice storm warnings were posted for all of the Charlotte area, with sleet and snow expected near Charlotte, heavy snow to the north, and a possible crippling ice storm between Charlotte and Columbia, S.C.
The snow moved eastward Friday afternoon, but with temperatures still in the lower 40s, it was melting on contact with the ground. Blair Holloway, of the National Weather Service office in Greer, S.C., said only light snow and sleet was expected Friday night.
But a National Weather Service observer in Cleveland County reported shortly after 4 p.m. that moderate snow was falling in Mooresboro, near Shelby.
Road crews and utility companies are hurried preparations in advance of the storm.
Heavy snow and sleet fell for much of the day across Tennessee, causing major travel problems in Nashville and Memphis. The winter storm headed for the Carolinas was the same system responsible for dumping heavy sleet and freezing rain in Oklahoma, northern Texas and Arkansas on Thursday.
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Meanwhile, Kentucky braced for a winter storm forecasters said could dump heavy snow in the southern part of the state.
Central Kentucky, including Lexington, was under a winter storm warning from 7 p.m. Friday to 4 p.m. Saturday. Snow was expected to accumulate 3 to 6 inches.
Snow accumulations up to 10 inches were forecast along portions of Kentucky's long southern border, while lighter accumulations were expected elsewhere by Saturday morning.
At Murray Home & Auto store, shoppers snatched up every available sled in anticipation of a heavy snow in the western Kentucky city, said store manager Chris Burgess.
Others grabbed shovels, kerosene heaters and chain saws, mindful of another winter storm a year ago that caused widespread power outages in the region.
"They're trying to be prepared this time," Burgess said.
In Franklin near the Tennessee border, Regina Coker decided to close The Country Store, which specializes in antiques and collectibles, four hours early as the snow started falling.
"Everything's just kind of stopped," she said. "It's already hitting here."
State highway crews were busy applying salt brine to roads to make it easier for snow plows to clear roads once the storm hit. The General Assembly canceled its Friday session in Frankfort so state lawmakers could get home ahead of the storm.