Weather

Chilly rain moves in Monday evening

Posted March 13

— A chilly rain made a cooler-than-normal Monday even more uncomfortable across central North Carolina, but it was nothing compared to the winter walloping on the way to the north.

Monday started out with temperatures below freezing in many spots, and the daytime high only reached the high 40s.

It won't get much colder, but the rain chances reach almost 100 percent through Monday night and through about dawn on Tuesday.

The same system that brings rain to North Carolina will cool and intensify as it moves north and east. Some parts of New England, New York and Pennsylvania could see more than a foot of snow.

The National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning for New York City and parts of neighboring New Jersey and Connecticut, with wind gusts up to 55 mph and low visibility predicted.

The weather service's office near Philadelphia called the storm "life-threatening" and warned people to "shelter in place."

Travel was sure to be dismal: About 4,000 Tuesday flights were canceled as of Monday afternoon. Amtrak canceled and modified service up and down the Northeast Corridor and motorists were urged to stay off the roads.

"We're in the middle of March, and we'll be dealing with winter-like conditions all week," WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner.

In central North Carolina, temperatures will be in the 40s and 50s throughout the work week, and will drop below freezing each night.

Tips to protect your plants

WRAL Master Gardener Tim Grissom says the recent warm weather pushed many plants to blossom three to four weeks early. The tender plants are especially susceptible to the extreme cold heading for the Triangle.

Plants that have tight buds on them should be OK over the next several days, Grissom said, but other flowers that are farther along might not make it through the frigid nights.

Instead of covering them, Grissom said it's best to cut flowers that are in danger and display them in a house.

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