Falling snow and icy roads in North Carolina closed local government offices and schools, sent cars sliding off the road and altered the governor's travel plans Friday.
Forecasters said heavy snow was falling in the mountainous western part of the state.
A winter storm warning was in effect for counties along and east of the Blue Ridge Parkway with up to seven inches in some locations. To the east, the warning called for up to 5 inches (13 centimeters) in the Triad and northern piedmont. The warning was set to expire Saturday afternoon.
Utility officials reported around 15,000 customers without power as of late afternoon, with more than half of that total in Buncombe and Henderson counties.
Buncombe County in the western part of the state had about 2,900 outages, while Forsyth County to the east had 2,300. In the mountains, Macon and Mitchell counties had about 1,000 outages each.
Highway Patrol Master Trooper Christopher Knox said in an email that troopers "are seeing numerous collisions in the western part of the state," and the agency was compiling numbers on them. The numbers were not available Friday evening.
The Asheville Citizen-Times reported that one person was taken to a hospital after a collision Friday morning near Sylva.
COOPER: KEEP A CLOSE EYE OUT
North Carolina's governor is warning residents to keep a close eye on winter weather forecasts across the state.
Gov. Roy Cooper issued a news release Friday saying that state trucks took the precaution of brining roads in the western part of the state. He also noted that about a dozen school systems had closed. The impact was expected to be less for counties in the eastern and southern parts of the state, but he warned people to be vigilant.
Cooper said winter weather in the South is notoriously difficult to predict, and forecasts can change in a matter of hours.
The statement issued around noon said that current forecasts call for between 3 inches (8 centimeters) to 6 inches (15 centimeters) of snow in the western part of the state, and 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) to 2 inches (5 centimeters) in the western part of the Piedmont, a swath of land in the central part of the state.
WESTERN NC EVENTS POSTPONED
Snowfall has forced North Carolina's governor has postponed two events in the western part of the state.
Gov. Roy Cooper had been scheduled to discuss the opioid crisis and visit a nonprofit organization that operates a halfway house and soup kitchen in Waynesville, which is west of Asheville. Forecasters say the mountainous area could get as much as six inches of snow from a winter storm that was blowing in Friday.
A news release said the appearances are postponed and will be rescheduled because of the bad weather.
Cooper was originally scheduled to visit the Haywood Pathways Center, and then hold a round-table discussion on the opioid crisis at a nearby government building.
Henderson County announced that non-emergency offices including library branches and the solid waste department would be closing at noon Friday.
SCHOOLS CLOSE IN BOONE
It's snowing in North Carolina and some schools are closed.
The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for nine counties in western North Carolina effective through 7 a.m. Saturday.
Snow began falling early Friday and forecasters said 4 inches (10 centimeters) to 6 inches (15 centimeters) of snow was possible in Asheville.
Schools were closed in the Boone area, where between 2 inches (5 centimeters) and 4 inches (10 centimeters) of snow was expected.
A winter weather advisory was in effect in other parts of western North Carolina where 2 inches (5 centimeters) and 4 inches (10 centimeters) of snow was possible.
A winter weather advisory was also in effect for Durham, Greensboro, High Point, and Winston-Salem. Forecasters expected 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) to 2 inches (5 centimeters) of snow.