Wednesday, January 7, 2015

First the cold; then a narrow escape Monday?

Exactly a year to the date of last year's coldest arctic outbreak in the Charlotte region, another burst of polar air is spilling into the Carolinas on Wednesday.

An arctic cold front is expected to cross the immediate Charlotte area sometime around midday, and temperatures will tumble from around 40 degrees late Wednesday morning to 10 degrees by daybreak Thursday. And forecasters said there will be even colder readings in some places not far from Charlotte.

The good news, according to meteorologists, is that long-range guidance indicates the Carolinas might escape a messy ice storm early next week.

It was a year ago today when the temperature dropped to 6 degrees in Charlotte. It's not expected to get quite that cold Thursday morning, but readings at daybreak probably won't be too far from the record of 8 degrees for the date.

A wind chill advisory is in effect for Wednesday evening and early Thursday. Winds will gust up to 30 mph from late afternoon until around midnight, causing wind chills of 5 to 15 degrees. Forecasters said the winds will abate overnight, but they'll still be blowing at up to 10 mph, causing wind chills slightly below zero in Charlotte.

In the mountains, wind chill readings could tumble to 10 or 15 degrees below zero.

There are two threats from this cold -- the wind chills, which will be a problem from about 6 p.m. Wednesday until midday Thursday; and the prolonged cold, which will be a problem for water pipes and heating systems.

The polar outbreak will send temperatures below freezing in the Charlotte area from about midnight until shortly before noon Friday. Some areas above 3,500 feet might not get above freezing until Saturday.

Thursday's highs in Charlotte will only reach the upper 20s.  Highs will be in the lower 40s Friday.

When temperatures are in the teens for many hours, as will be the case Thursday, frozen water pipes are the typical result.  Be sure to keep water dripping from a faucet tonight. Plumbers say it's best to use the faucet farthest from where water enters the house.

Heating systems obviously will be seriously taxed.  Assuming it's too late to get a system checkup on
Wednesday, you might want to consider putting towels around window sills that leak cold air. And make sure electrical outlets are covered.

Another tip ... on Thursday, when the sun is shining, be sure to keep your blinds open on sunny sides of the house. Even though the temperature is in the 20s, the solar heat will help warm the inside of your residence.

Looking ahead to next week ...

Moisture is expected to arrive Sunday and intensify Monday, but the computer guidance can't agree on whether that will pose a threat of wintry precipitation for the Charlotte region.

The moisture is coming, the computer models agree.  But they can't agree on the timing, and that's important.  One strong high pressure system over New England will be moving out to sea Sunday, to be follow by another late Monday or Tuesday.

Two of the three most heavily used computer models predict the precipitation will arrive in the "gap" between the two cold high pressure systems.  That means cold rain for the Charlotte region.  The Global weather model predicts the precipitation will arrive with enough cold air still around for freezing rain Sunday.

The National Weather Service is leaning toward the cold rain scenario.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update Mr. Hype.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:06, your glib sarcasm reeks of immaturity. Why is it "hype" to provide readers with information? Steve merely reported the forecast of very cold weather upcoming, which is a good thing to know. He made no prediction about snow or ice, except that one computer model allows for the possibility of freezing rain in a few days. How is that "hype"? I, any many others, appreciate and enjoy Steve's weather articles. If you do not appreciate this, then please do not make kneejerk negative comments. Please just stay off unless you have something relevant to say.

James Edgar said...

I agree, this post isn't hype. You want hype, go listen to Brad Panic-ovich, Eric Terror and Steve Useless-son. I rely on They always predict the most conservative outcome on winter weather. They're now calling for 60% chance of rain Monday and Tuesday, none of it frozen. I say, if it's this cold, it should go ahead and snow! :-)

Anonymous said...

James Edgar -
You are spot on. Nothing is worse than the daily weather hysteria dished out by WCNC, WBTV, and WSOC.

Anonymous said...

What a waste of freezing air. Figures..subfreezing temps and zero precip. Dammit...I want snow!!!!!.

Anonymous said...

I read this blog because there is no screaming about dangerous weather - it isn't named Storm Center or anything. TV weatherpeople annoy me by deciding which weather I'm supposed to consider nice. Variety is nice. Rain is nice. Life would be a bore otherwise, as it is most of the summer. Why do you folks who are offended by these mild discussions keep coming back?

Anonymous said...

Agreed, fellow bald headed panovich haters. He really aggravates me. Not everyone wants 70 degrees in the middle of winter!!!! But make sure you get out and "enjoy" it because another blast of arctic air is on its way, temps on Monday will not get out of the 30's. Yeah, it's called January you doooooosh!!!!

This year is so much more boring than last winter...

Anonymous said...

Over two weeks and no new post. Unless there is a "severe storm" of some kind on the way, this blog is silent.

calsbackupolustoopidupidoos said...

Two weeks? Over THREE weeks.

Anonymous said...

The blog is D E A D.