|A strong low pressure system moved from the Gulf Coast to off the North Carolina coast. A secondary low moved west of North Carolina over Kentucky, bringing a nose of warm air in aloft. This led to a mixture of snow, sleet, freezing rain, and rain across northwest North Carolina, with many areas seeing significant snow or ice accumulations.
A powerful winter storm dumped record amounts of snow (15 to 30 inches) across Washington D.C. and surrounding areas, while areas further south, including North Carolina, only experienced a glancing blow from this storm.
This system followed the classic "Miller Type B" surface pattern, with a weakening low in the Tennessee Valley transferring to a rapidly intensifying low off the North Carolina coast. The net result was significant warm air penetrating well inland into North Carolina, leaving primarily only the western portions of the state with significant frozen precipitation, while the rest of the state received only light snow from a trailing upper level disturbance behind the surface low pressure system.
Where the cold air was the most entrenched across northwestern portions of North Carolina, a band of 9 to 13 inches of snow was recorded with only light amounts of freezing rain observed. Farther east, a mixed bag of freezing rain and snow was observed due to the more disorganized thermal structure of the atmosphere (with thin layers of above freezing temperatures) that is common with Miller Type B systems. Due to the mixing of precipitation types, snow totals tapered down to generally 4 to 6 inches, with freezing rain amounts increasing to 1/10 inch to 1/2 inch across northern North Carolina away from the mountains. Over central North Carolina, generally only trace amounts of snow were observed and these occurred the following morning as an upper level disturbance and pocket of cold air aloft moved over the region.