Weather

Records fall as arctic air stays put to close work week

Posted February 20, 2015

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— Temperatures plummeted into the single digits across the Triangle early Friday, setting new records on the final day of a winter weather-filled work week. 

Lows bottomed out around 7 degrees at Raleigh-Durham International Airport before daybreak Friday, a mark that shattered the previous record of 13 degrees, which was set in 1979. With winds still blowing from the northwest, wind chill temperatures were at or below zero in many places across the Triangle throughout the commute. 

"It looks weird to see temperatures this cold, we just don't normally see temperatures this cold in our area," WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said. "Because of the breeze, frostbite is a concern."

A wind chill advisory for the entire area expired at 9 a.m., but wind chill temperatures could be between 0 degrees and -10 degrees through mid-morning. 

A water main break closed a portion of Ingram Drive in Raleigh early Friday between Atlantic Avenue and Brentwood Road. 

Even after the sun comes up, temperatures will be slow to climb during the day. Highs will reach the mid-20s, about 5 to 10 degrees warmer than Thursday but still more than 25 degrees below normal for mid-February. 

Area homeless shelters began flying white flags Wednesday night to warn of the dangers of temperatures below freezing. All men seeking shelter in Raleigh should first contact the South Wilmington Street Center for referral. Women with children should contact The Salvation Army. Women with or without children may contact the Raleigh Rescue Mission.

The historic dip in temperatures prompted Duke Energy to ask its customers to cut back temporarily on their use of electricity to help the company avoid outages. A small outage was reported early Friday in east Raleigh. About 1,000 customers were without power, and officials said it could be 8:15 a.m. before service is restored.

Duke says the most critical times for conservation are 5 to 10 a.m. on Friday morning. Cutting back can be as simple as unplugging chargers for phones and tablets, which draw energy even when they aren't in use. 

Other ways to save on energy: 

Change filters: A dirty one makes heating systems work harder, which uses more energy.
 
Take advantage of blinds and curtains: Open them – especially those on south-facing windows – during the day to let in the sun. Close them at night to help insulate.

Replace the bulbs: Compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs or light-emitting diodes (LED) are more energy-efficient and provide the same amount of light.

Unused heating vents and rooms: Don't close them off. Doing so can use more energy.

Keep ceiling fans off: Don't bother turning them on to blow down warm air. Consumer Reports tests found the draft often gives people a chill, causing them to turn up the thermostat.

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  • Jeff Johnson Feb 20, 2015
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    Is that the guy that invented the internet? ;-)

  • Bob Smith Feb 20, 2015
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    Al Gore was right!