Friday, November 23, 2012

Wintry cold for weekend; longer- term forecast iffy

Christmas shoppers who like the idea of heading to the stores in shorts or light jackets should enjoy today. Temperatures across the Charlotte region are headed into the middle and upper 60s, after a chilly start.

But a big change is coming for the weekend, with temperatures that should please shoppers who feel they need a chill to get in the spirit.

The longer-range forecast is more uncertain, though.  Earlier this week, computer models were pointing to a dramatic cool-down and possibly even some wintry precipitation in parts of the Southeast during the first half of December.  But that looks a bit more unlikely now.

In the immediate future is an approaching cold front.

We had a chilly start Friday, and the Black Friday shoppers who visited the malls before daybreak encountered temperatures ranging from the middle 20s (26 degrees in northern Stanly County) to the mid 30s (near Charlotte).  However, temperatures soared quickly and were near 60 degrees by noon.

A rather strong cold front is crossing Tennessee at midday and should sweep across the Carolinas overnight. Fans headed out to  high school football playoff semifinals tonight should have a pleasant evening, with temperatures mostly in the 50s. The cold air won't funnel into the region until after midnight.

But you'll feel it Saturday. Highs aren't expected to climb above the upper 40s, which is below even the middle-of-winter average high temperatures. The cold temperatures will come despite full sunshine.

Sunday morning's low could be near 25 degrees, which would make it the coldest morning so far this season and the chilliest since a 24-degree low on March 6.

It will be sunny again Sunday, but still chilly. Warming begins Monday, and temperatures should remain near seasonal averages through the week.

Incidentally, Charlotte's average temperature this month also almost 3 degrees below seasonal norms -- the first time that has happened in many months.

Looking farther ahead, there are signs of a pattern change around Dec. 5-7, but it is unclear whether the atmospheric flow will be northwest-to-southeast (which would bring the cold) or more west-to-east (milder conditions).  We'll keep an eye on it next week, but as of right now, the beginning of December is looking milder than first thought.


Bill said...


Did the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) ever form? I was in New York the week after Sandy hit and endured the Nor' Easter. I wondered if the NAO could have been responsible.