A State of Emergency has been called for all of North Carolina's 100 counties as a winter storm - which Cooper referred to as "the real thing" - is due to hit the state by Saturday evening, bringing six or more inches of snow over the weekend.
To go along with the snow, ice accumulations are also possible.
WINTER WEATHER ADVISORIES are in effect from 1am tonight to noon Monday.
Local Yokel Weather issued a SNOWCAST Map this morning, which puts Bryson City, Alarka and Almond on the map to receive anywhere from 2-4 inches and for Whittier and Cherokee to receive anywhere from 4-8 inches of snow.
Heavy rains are expected in other parts of the South, creating possible floods in coastal areas.
The evolving storm is an area of low pressure predicted to track Saturday from Texas across the Gulf Coast.
Roy Cooper said Saturday that residents in the some parts of the state should be ready for a lengthy fight with the storm, which was beginning to dump sleet and snow across its western mountain areas Saturday night.
"Significant accumulations of snow combined with sleet and freezing rain is expected".
Snow will continue through early afternoon on Monday and will add another inch to two across the area.
By mid-morning Sunday, temperatures will start to climb making rain more likely.
NWS forecasters expect rain to arrive after 3 p.m. Saturday.
The storm is not expected to travel far enough north to have any major impact in the northeast of the country.
Lake-effect snow is in the immediate forecast for Erie, Crawford, Warren and Chautauqua counties, according to the National Weather Service. There is also the threat of power outages as soggy soil, accumulation of snow and ice and gusty winds could bring down trees and take power lines with them.
North Carolina's largest electric utility, Duke Energy, has said more there could more than 500,000 power outages. Lower amounts, less than 1 inch, are expected south into Faulkner County in the current forecast. Salisbury and Asheville could get 15 inches, Lincolnton 12, Gastonia 7, Monroe 3 and Rock Hill 2, the NWS projected.
While most models keep the winter precipitation tucked into Carolinas, there is one model that shows the possibility of freezing rain reaching down the I-85 corridor to impact Atlanta on Sunday night into Monday.