Bitter cold start to weekend; even colder early next week

Frosty windshield on one of the NBC Charlotte news cars.


by First Warn Storm Team

Posted on January 2, 2014 at 12:36 PM

Updated Sunday, Jan 5 at 9:52 AM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The first of two arctic blasts arrived in the Carolinas Friday.

A second and stronger blast of Arctic air arrives next Monday night into Tuesday. It promises to be one of the coldest we have seen around here since 2003.

Low temperatures ranged from low 20s in Charlotte and points east, to teens in the foothills, single digits in Boone, to below zero on the mountain tops on Friday morning. Wind chill readings were well below zero in the High Country to single digits and teens in Charlotte.

Morning lows will drop back into the single digits and low teens in the mountains this morning. Expect upper teens and lighter winds across the Piedmont.

We get a brief break from the bitter cold with high temperatures in the upper 30s to low 40s Saturday and low to mid-40s on Sunday.

The chance for rain showers goes back up to 50% Saturday night through Sunday night ahead of the strong cold front.

Monday morning temperatures will start in the mid-30s, but we'll see temperatures fall into the 20s with gusty winds behind the front Monday afternoon. From there we will stay below freezing all the way through Wednesday, when we brielfy reach 34° in the afternoon.

We'll quickly crash back into the 20s Wednesday night and finally see low 40s Thursday afternoon.

We will see 48-60 hours below the freezing mark area wide. This is a length of time that will pose a serious threat to people, pipes, pets and livestock not properly protected.

The GFS model, which is one of several models that I use to forecast the weather, has been getting progressively colder with each model run.

There is support from the other models, along with other indicators, for an arctic invasion. The main driving force behind all of this is a huge buckle in the polar jet-stream which is forcing something we call the "Polar Vortex" south into southern Canada. 

This polar vortex acts like a giant pinwheel that spins counter clockwise. It spins cold air south into the United States.

The first surge of air arrived Friday, but it only lays the ground work for the second surge Monday night into Tuesday.

The second surge really impacts the area early Tuesday morning with low temperatures that we haven't seen around these parts in years. 

GFS model low temperatures next Tuesday morning. 

For our area it's been awhile since we have see cold air like this. 

GFS model versus how long it's been since it's been this cold.

  • Charlotte: GFS low of 8°. The last time it was that cold was 8° on 1/24/2003.
  • Hickory: GFS low of 4°. The last time it was that cold there was 2° on 2/5/1992.
  • Boone: GFS low of -10°. The last time it was that cold there was -14° 1/20/1994. 

So take the time now to prepare for a prolonged cold snap that will last for the next 6-8 days. The average temperature in Charlotte over that time will just be 30°.

That means you need to make sure you have a proper and safe heating source. Outdoor hoses and pipes are protected and that all pets and livestock have proper shelter from the cold. 

Be safe and stay warm and be sure to follow me for updates on NBC Charlotte, and on Facebook, Twitter and Google +.