Monday, October 22, 2012

Temperatures head up; something stirs in tropics

We've gotten the week's coldest weather out of the way already.

From here on, Charlotte-area temperatures will be on the rise, creating some really nice conditions for several days.

At the same time, the tropics -- which have been quiet for weeks -- are coming to life. A system taking shape south of Jamaica could have a role in weather later this week for some part of the Carolinas.

But that's iffy. For now, let's focus on what we know.

Temperatures in Charlotte and elsewhere across the region fell Monday morning to their lowest levels so far this season. The coldest temperature I've seen so far for Charlotte-Douglas International Airport was 41 degrees, which would be the chilliest reading since a 39-degree low on April 24.

The 41-degree low is the same as I saw at thermometers in Mint Hill and Matthews.

But it was colder elsewhere in the area. Some of the Monday morning unofficial lows:

36 degrees: Morganton.

37 degrees: Salisbury, Wadesboro.

38 degrees: Lexington, New London (northern Stanly County), Troy (Montgomery County).

39 degrees: Albemarle, Concord, Lincolnton.

High pressure responsible for allowing temperatures to drop like that is modifying across the eastern United States, and our Monday afternoon highs will climb into the middle 70s.

Overnight lows Tuesday morning will be about 5 to 8 degrees milder, and afternoon highs are forecast to be back in the middle 70s. Highs will approach 80 degrees Wednesday through Friday.

No rain is in the forecast, which is good and bad. Obviously, it'll allow us to enjoy the nice temperatures (which are about 10 degrees above average for late October), but we're below-average recently for rain, and things are starting to get dry.

... Which sets the transition to the tropics.

The National Hurricane Center is watching an area of disturbed weather south of Jamaica and said Monday morning there is a 90 percent chance of the system becoming a named tropical depression within the next 48 hours (and possibly today).

The system is forecast to move north, toward Jamaica and Cuba, during the middle of the week. Some computer models predict the system will move up the east coast of Florida. That, of course, puts the Carolinas coast in play.

It will be something to keep an eye on this week.