State News

'Cruel cold' to invade N.C. through weekend

Posted January 15, 2009
Updated March 9, 2009

— A front started to usher in "cruel cold" Thursday night, and below-freezing temperatures could linger through Saturday afternoon, WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel predicted.

"We'll end up with about 44, 46 hours of temperatures below freezing. That includes the high temperature tomorrow (Friday). Then we'll struggle to get above freezing Saturday, maybe for only a couple hours," WRAL Meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said.

"We won't have a chance of getting back to normal until the end of next week," Fishel said.

WRAL Weather team WRAL WeatherCenter Forecast

The National Weather Service issues a wind-chill advisory from 3 a.m. to 9 a.m. Friday for Granville, Vance, Warren, Durham, Franklin, Chatham, Wake, Alamance, Orange and Person counties.

A wind chill advisory means that very cold air and strong winds
will combine, and they can result in frost bite and lead to hypothermia if precautions are not taken, the weather service said.

Thursday hit its high in the low 40s in the early afternoon, and during the lunch hour, people bundled up to stay warm along the Fayetteville Street Mall.

"I'm from New Jersey, so people always say to me, 'This is nothing to you,'" said the operator of Guido's hot dog stand. "But cold is cold, no matter where you're from."

"We trudge through it every day," said Micah Pearce. He and his coworker at the Healing Place, Melvin Glasgow, wore several shirts, jackets and long gloves.

As the sun set, temperatures fell, heading for the teens in much of the state and into the single digits in western counties.

By 10 p.m., the temperature at Asheville had sunk to 14 degrees, and the wind chill made it feel like 1 below zero, the weather service reported.

At Jefferson, northeast of Boone, the thermometer read 9 degrees.

Winds will gust up to 25 mph, making it making it feel like it's in the single digits around the Triangle and close to 0 degrees in the northwest Piedmont – including Orange, Alamance and Person counties – Friday morning.

"(Friday) is going to be the the day we see the coldest air (arrive)," Gardner said. "It's really going to stick with us over the weekend."

On Friday, the forecast high is a frigid 27 degrees, and the temperature could drop to 9 degrees early Saturday – which would break a record low set Jan. 29, 2000.

Temperatures will rise into the 40s Sunday and continue to moderate early next week.

Cold can be dangerous

Such cold weather makes it necessary to keep yourself and your pets healthy and to protect home plumbing and heating systems.

Experts say that residents should at least disconnect any outside hoses.

If pipes break, "Water will get in the house, in the walls. That's not good; it causes a lot of damage to the house," Kilo Krahn, with Roto Rooter, said.

Protect your plumbing during cold weather Protect your plumbing during cold weather

People should also be particularly careful with space heaters, which pose a fire danger: They cause a fifth of home-heating fires and account for 75 percent of deaths from those fires, Raleigh firefighters said.

Space heaters create fire danger Space heaters create fire danger

The homeless are more at risk because prolonged exposure to cold temperatures can result in hypothermia.

The Durham Rescue Mission launched "Operation Warm Shelter" to get shelter, clothing and warm food to the homeless during extreme cold. Volunteers hit the streets in the afternoon, urging homeless people to come into the shelter.

Wake County Human Services will implement its "White Flag" system when temperatures hit 32 degrees. An actual white flag is displayed at shelters as a reminder to come inside and get out of the cold. More people are also allowed to stay than usual. 

To keep students from waiting at bus stops in frigid temperatures, Chatham County schools announced a two-hour delay and Pittsboro Baptist Preschool a one-hour delay Friday.

Some Triangle residents planned a long-distance escape from the cold.

"We're going deep-sea fishing. I can't wait to go to the beach," Nicole McKinley said.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • mep Jan 15, 2009

    elyhim2... here are over 31,000 scientist that say that global warming is NOT man made.
    Science can not explain what caused the ice ages, much less predict next weeks weather with any real accuracy. We humans are not the cause of global warming.... you can either believe it nor not. Alarmest are making a bundle off of the global warming lie. It needs to stop.

  • elyhim2 Jan 15, 2009

    colliedave, oil went down after Carter because the oil companies were scared we would continue to drop our need for oil, then as large cars made a come back they went up again, now what has changed in the past 12 months for oil to plummet? Nothing except we have a President Elect who says we're going to be off foriegn oil within 10 years.

    Wake up

  • elyhim2 Jan 15, 2009

    The facts are that C02 causes a reaction in the atmosphere to trap heat. This is irrefutable fact. The 2nd fact is humans are pumping out much more C02 than our natural environment barring any immense volcanic activity. These are the facts, if you would like to look up the NOAA time lapse images of melting ice sheets you would see that. It's 44 in Anchorage Alaska in January, that is pretty warm for them so you have to average out all that is happening not just your town's weather.

    If anyone can find one single scientist to refute these clear facts then there could be a discussion on global warming.

  • colliedave Jan 15, 2009

    But that doesn't change the fact that oil is a limited resource, and your grandkids aren't going to have any of it because of your selfish attitude

    It's limited b/c of government dictates as to where oil companies can drill! The wail we are running out of oil was common during the Peanut Farmer's administration and has as much substance of that administraion.

  • colliedave Jan 15, 2009

    On Friday, the forecast high is a frigid 27 degrees, and the temperature could drop to 9 degrees early Saturday – which would break a record low set Jan. 29, 2000.

    is it a record low for the day, or, and all time record low temp? Big difference. Didn't get down to 0 in the mid- eighties?

  • Newshound Jan 15, 2009

    Also here is a report about that larson b ice collapse that refutes global warming being the cause. It states that other factors were more to blame and global warming was not the cause.


  • Newshound Jan 15, 2009

    liloan please visit this report and tell me how bad the ice is meliting in antartica this year.

    Also lets assume for the sake of argument that the earth is warming and the ice caps are melting as a result. Where is the proven scientific data that shows man is responsible ant not a combination of other natural factors beyond human control. In my earlier post i agreed that man should do what we can to make the air cleaner for ourselves. But i am not going to beleive we are responsible for global warming untill some real science has proven the theory of global warming. Right now overseas there is a country(i forget which one) that is regulating how big your television can be because of global warming. This half baked theory is being cast to scare people and allow others to make policy and laws to suit their agendas world wide. Don't like my post please prove me wrong.

  • gr Jan 15, 2009

    excuse me - deep sea fishing, still cold on a boat if this far north. i hope they are going far south.

  • gr Jan 15, 2009

    Unless the person who commented in the last paragraph that they were going to Miami they are going to be cold at the beach especially surf fishing....just because it is the beach dont mean it cant be cold. And it is always windy there.

  • bs101fly Jan 15, 2009

    of course there's no precip now that the cold air is here.
    but wait, what about the irresponsible weather no-forecasters saying Sunday night we could get a flake or a piece of freezing drizzle?
    A "piece" of freezing drizzle. How exactly is THAT going to impact us?
    Like a colon?