FOREST CITY — A major winter storm is expected to hit Western North Carolina including Rutherford County, parts of the Piedmont, and Upstate South Carolina before heading up the East Coast. The storm will begin Saturday evening at approximately 9 p.m., according to forecasters.

Meteorologists, television weather forecasters and online weather websites have offered differing predictions regarding possible snow totals for Rutherford County, but all agree the weather event will be significant, possibly lasting into Monday morning.

According to the Greenville-Spartanburg National Weather Service office on Friday, snow totals “are highly subject to change being two days out. Start to prepare for a major ice storm outside of the mountains.”

The weather service prediction is that 8-12 inches of snow are possible for Rutherford County, less in Cleveland County. Heavy mixed precipitation is possible. Higher elevations in the mountains may receive more snow.

Ice accumulations are also possible.

Officials say Sunday travel could be “very difficult to impossible.” The Monday morning commute could be impacted as well.

Some precipitation may begin as early as Saturday afternoon across parts of the mountains eventually falling as mostly snow and increasing in coverage and intensity late Saturday night.

Ice is a concern. Local officials are warning residents to take extreme caution.

The weather service stated that the precipitation may briefly change to sleet and freezing rain before tapering off Sunday afternoon and evening in most areas. However, snow showers are expected to linger along the Tennessee border into Monday morning.

Widespread black ice should be expected Monday morning, and could be an issue into the midweek.

Officials are urging those who live within a municipality to not park on the streets Saturday evening.

“We want our streets as clear as possible, so our snow plows can get through as efficiently as they can,” said Rutherfordton Town Manager Doug Barrick. “If their cars are left on the streets, they will be surrounded by piles of snow by the snow plows. So, please don’t leave cars parked on the streets Saturday night.”

North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) road crews have been working several days to prepare for the expected winter storm.

“Our crews and contractors are doing all we can to get ready for this storm and we ask North Carolinians to prepare as well,” said J. Eric Boyette, State Transportation secretary. “Please make sure to plan ahead because this storm could impact travel around the state.”

NCDOT crews and contractors used hundreds of trucks Thursday and Friday to apply brine to roads from the mountains to the coast in advance of the storm. Brine, a cost-efficient of salt and water, lowers the freezing temperatures on pavement and helps prevent ice from forming on roads. Officials say other crews are preparing chainsaws and other tools that will remove any downed trees that could occur especially if there is much ice.

After pre-treating the roads, crews will rest, then switch out brining equipment for plowing equipment to clear the roads of snow and ice for post-storm response.

Officials are urging residents to stay off the roads.

“After the storm hits, please stay home and off the roads,” said NCDOT Chief Operating Officer Beau Memory. “NCDOT and contractor crews will do the best they can to clear roads as quickly as possible, but we ask everyone to be safe and stay patient.”

Rutherford County Emergency Management has identified several possible shelters, that will be announced if they are activated.

If residents are without heat and need sheltering, they should call 828-429-6437.

Residents who lose power should contact their appropriate power company, not 911. Duke Energy customers should call 800-769-3766 or text OUT to 57801. Forest City customers should call 828-245-0149. Rutherford Electric customers should call 828-245-1621 or 800-521-0920.

To report downed trees, call 828-286-2911.

Emergency officials say residents should be prepared for a power outage by having enough food, water, and medications to last for three days (72 hours).

Also, residents are encouraged to make a family communications plan, and plan for contacting family members to make sure everyone is safe.

Emergency supply kits should be restocked. Residents should have on hand, rock salt, sand, snow shovels, and heating fuel. Charcoal grills and generators should be used outside only, as the fumes can be deadly. Flashlights and candles should be gathered in case they are needed, and electronic devices should be charged, especially cellphones.

Trending Videos