Thursday, October 25, 2012

A taste of winter next week

The big weather news during the next few days will be the possible evolution of Hurricane Sandy into a huge East Coast storm, but the weather will be making news -- on a lesser scale -- in the Charlotte area, too.

The same cold air mass that will feed into Sandy late this weekend will pour into the Carolinas on Sunday and Monday, bringing the chilliest temperatures we've seen since early spring.

Doug Outlaw, of the National Weather Service office in Greer, S.C., said Thursday morning that temperatures next week will be more typical of January than the last week of October.

Actually, readings won't be quite like January, when Charlotte's average high temperature is 50 or 51 degrees.  But it won't be much different than early December or late February.

Highs on Monday and Tuesday might not climb out of the middle 50s, and there will be a northwest breeze to make it seem even colder.  Morning lows will be in the mid 30s, and if frost doesn't arrive in Charlotte, it certainly will make an appearance in the suburbs.

Today probably will be the last 80-degree day in the current warm spell, and it might be the last time we see 80 until 2013.

Slightly cooler air will move into the region Friday, holding daytime highs to the middle 70s. Then the cold front will push across the Carolinas later Saturday, bringing a chance of showers.

Heavier rain and gusty winds will be felt along the North Carolina coast, courtesy of Sandy.

The changeover in air masses is expected Sunday, which could turn out to be rather cloudy and windy. Highs will only reach the lower 60s.

Then it'll get even chillier Monday, and it looks as if the cold air will last through at least Halloween (next Wednesday).

I mentioned yesterday that a strong, strong storm moving up the East Coast could conceivably alter the weather pattern in the Eastern United States for a few weeks, by helping turn the North Atlantic Oscillation negative.  That would bring repeated shots of cold air into the East for a while.  We'll have to wait and see about that.