CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The outbreak of winter weather impacting the Carolinas has delivered the coldest stretch of weather experienced by Charlotte in over 20 years.
According to Chief Meteorologist Brad Panovich, the Queen City is in the midst of its coldest snap since 1995. Afternoon highs haven't topped 35 degrees in five days, and to make matters worse for those in the cold, Panovich doesn't expect it to warm up just yet.
The historic cold is also inching Charlotte closer to another chilly record. Through the first four days of 2018, Charlotte's average high has been just 23.6 degrees, meaning the Queen City's felt the coldest first four days of the year since 1928.
"We could get colder over the next couple of days into the weekend," Panovich said. "The next two days, wind chills will be dangerous. Not just for the mountains, but for everyone in our area."
The cold air coupled with a snowstorm that brought historic snowfall to parts of the South Carolina coast, including Charleston, where meteorologist Sarah Fortner measured over five inches in the downtown area. According to Panovich, that accumulation was the third-most on record, only about a half-inch from the all-time record set way back in 1989.
"We don't normally see a stretch this cold for this long," Panovich said. "No record highs or lows, just prolonged cold that we're not used to."
In Avery County, thousands of people lost power as low temperatures dipped into the single digits. Wind chill factors were well below zero, with Panovich forecasting them to reach about 20 below during the overnight hours in neighboring Watauga County. As a result, numerous school systems announced they will be closed Friday. In the Piedmont, most schools will operate on a two-hour delay, while Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools said they will operate on their normal schedule despite the frigid conditions.
Charlotte Department of Transportation told NBC Charlotte that crews proactively treated streets Thursday and will resume Friday in anticipation of possible winter weather Monday. There is a possibility that Charlotte will see ice and snow Monday before the temperatures finally rise into the 40s. To report an icy road in Mecklenburg County, you can call CharMeck 311.