Wacky weather takes cold turn

Published 9:06 am Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Near record warmth on Sunday to teeth-chattering cold by mid-week…..welcome to the wacky world of winter weather in northeastern North Carolina.

Had it not been for the wet weather, Sunday would have been ideal for shorts and flip-flops. But that all changed in a hurry Sunday night when brisk, westerly winds ushered in a cold front, dropping Monday’s high temp to the low 50’s.

By later his week, we’ll all wish for a repeat of Monday.

Two rounds of Arctic cold will move through much of the United States east of the Rockies this week, according to www.weather.com. The first blast has moved in behind Winter Storm Frona and began in the Plains on Sunday, when highs were below freezing as far south as Amarillo, Texas.

Practically all of North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin started with subzero lows Monday morning, with 20s below zero in northern Minnesota.

The second round will be even colder and will push farther south and east, to include North Carolina. A ridge of high pressure will build in the West with a deep trough in eastern Canada which will allow air from the Arctic to move southward across the eastern half of the U.S.

This second round begins Tuesday in the Northern Plains. A reinforcing shot of cold air behind a clipper system will surge south and east, reaching the East Coast and South by Thursday.

Gusty winds will accompany the cold temperatures as a strong area of high pressure builds in behind the clipper system. These gusty winds will make it feel even colder. Wind chill values are expected to be below zero for much of the Midwest and Northeast overnight Wednesday into Thursday morning and in the single digits for parts of the Southeast.

For the Roanoke-Chowan area, expect a normal Tuesday for early January with a high near 50 under mostly sunny skies. Tonight’s low will be 30 degrees.

The cold arrives Wednesday where cloudy skies and a high in the upper 30’s is in the forecast. With a northwest wind increasing to as high as 20 mph (with gusts up to 30 mph) by Wednesday afternoon, it will feel colder than that.

As skies clear Wednesday night, the thermometer will plummet with a low of 14 degrees, accompanied by stiff winds in the 20 mph range.

The thermometer will fail to move above freezing during the daylight hours on Thursday where the high is forecasted at 27 degrees. Thursday’s low will be in the upper teens.

Friday promises to be a bit closer to normal with a high of 41 degrees under sunny skies. The overnight low will be near 20 degrees.

Local citizens are urged to bundle up when outside on Wednesday and Thursday. It is also recommended to bring household pets indoors, or ensure they have warm bedding and are in an area protected from the wind if kept outdoors. And be sure to check on your elderly neighbors during this cold snap.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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