High winds blow into Triangle as winter begins

Posted December 21, 2012

— Clouds and rain showers associated with a mass cold front moved off the North Carolina coast early Friday, leading into a cloudy and windy afternoon with gusts over 40 mph.

Sustained winds increased across the area all morning, and central North Carolina remained under a wind advisory from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., WRAL meteorologist Mike Moss said. A wind advisory means frequent wind gusts of 40 mph are expected.

Wind Speeds, DMA Winds Speeds and Wind Gusts

"People driving around today in high-profile SUVs and tractor-trailers today need to use a little extra caution, and we could see a few tree limbs blow down in spots," Moss said. "If you're traveling into the mountains, winds there could gust up to 60 mph."

High winds suspended the Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry route Friday and Saturday. The wind gusts in combination with shallow water depth in the inlet made it unsafe to cross. The Pamlico Sound route from Swan Quarter and Cedar Island to Ocracoke may also be suspended.


Snow flurries were spotted across western North Carolina. WRAL meteorologist Nate Johnson said the highest chance for snow flurries was west of the Triangle.

"This is not a big deal," Johnson said. "There won't be any accumulation."


Sunshine won't help the temperatures climb much, as afternoon highs will struggle to climb out of the 40s on the first official day of winter. The wind will make it feel even more bitter, Moss said. 

"We could see some variable cloudiness as the upper level low driving this massive front moves north of us," he said. "We've got a high pressure system working toward us from Texas, so we'll see a dry air mass building in during the day. Our dew points began falling last night and will continue to drop."

Friday night will be clear, breezy and cold, as lows dip to near freezing and winds between 15 and 20 mph linger across the area. 

Saturday's weather will be beautiful, as abundant sunshine will push temperatures to near 50 degrees. Clouds will return to the area Sunday and likely stay put through Christmas, Moss said. 

Christmas Day is likely to be mostly cloudy with highs in low 50s, Johnson said. After Christmas Day, temperatures will rise into the 60s.

"We don't know if we're going to see any rain out of the clouds Monday and Tuesday, but we'll call it mostly cloudy," Moss said. "Temperatures will be in the mid-50s for the first half of next week."

No snow in sight

Those in the Triangle with dreams of a white Christmas will be disappointed, Moss said. The holiday forecast calls for mostly cloudy skies and mild temperatures in the 50s. There is no snow in the forecast for Raleigh for as far as the forecast models can see.


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  • jblake1932 Dec 21, 2012

    One final check on the winds yields a not so surprising finding. They are blowing harder now than in the last 24 hrs and it is nearing the end of the "terror" time allotted for same. I think they missed the timing. Well, off to the basement for the nite.

  • jblake1932 Dec 21, 2012

    Just checked the wind gust a minute ago and it's back up to 14 mph. Man, it's been a high wind warning kinda day, NOT!

  • myrtlebeachrock Dec 21, 2012

    Wild weather, but rock me mama like the wind and rain and rock me like a south bound train. Raleigh's new song

  • Screw WrAl Dec 21, 2012

    jblake, do you load your nog up every day or do you just sip it? You are one drunk gust.

  • mmtlash Dec 21, 2012

    check out this webcam of Boone, the snow is really coming down:

  • jblake1932 Dec 21, 2012

    Winds are West at 9 mph now. Blowing trash cans every where in the neighborhood now and clothes off the line. As always, forecast really panned out. (oh the joy)

  • Banned4Life Dec 21, 2012

    Speak for yourself Moss. We're getting INCHES of ACCUMULATION here... plus those 60 MPH gusts. But it looks beautiful outside. Got a fire going in the fireplace, hot cup of coffee and watching the snow blowing sideways outside.. And just north of us, Beech Mountain and Boone are getting a LOT more.

  • yukonjohn3 Dec 21, 2012

    At some point in time, we are going to be sending you some serious cold. Not just average cold, heavy duty cold. Extra strength cold!! It is 54 below zero on my porch as of about an hour ago. It is 44 below at the airport, although I don't know anyone that lives there. It is 48 below at Fort Wainwright, the army base here. Hoping that ya'll will get a little snow for Christmas. Take care everyone, and Merry Christmas!! Here is a link to our newspaper, it has videos of people traveling around town in 40+ below zero temps!!

  • jblake1932 Dec 21, 2012

    Dudes, the wind is really roaring at 16 mph now! Forecast was spot on. :) ssmh!

  • norainonmyparade Dec 21, 2012

    Yep, just as I stated. No wind. No damage.

    There have been gusting winds all morning and I have several large branches down in my yard, luckily one missed landing on my car. There is wind, and there is damage. It might not be severe damage, but that doesn't mean that there is none.