Strong winds help push arctic air into central NC
Posted January 2
Updated January 3
Arctic air from the north and west rushed into central and eastern North Carolina early Friday, setting up a frigid final day of the work week and delaying travel for thousands up and down the East Coast.
Rain associated with a passing cold front moved out of the area late Thursday night, and gusty northwesterly winds picked up overnight behind the system.
Temperatures were in the mid-20s at 9 a.m., but wind chills were in the teens. Wind chills in some parts of central and western North Carolina were in the single digits.
"It is windy, and it is very cold. We don't see this sort of wind chill all that often," WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said.
Highs Friday afternoon will top out near freezing, and winds will gust between 15 and 25 mph throughout much the day.
Winds downed power lines in several spots around the Triangle early Friday, knocking out power to some customers in Orange, Durham, Wake and Johnston counties. A home north of downtown Raleigh caught fire at about 6 a.m. because of a downed power line. No injuries were reported.
Several inches of snow that fell overnight in the Northeast was impacting travel in the Triangle, as about 20 flights from Raleigh-Durham International Airport were canceled early Friday. Several other flights were delayed, officials said.
RDU spokesman Andrew Sawyer said about 30 percent of Friday morning's flights out of RDU were impacted.
Saturday morning will dawn clear and cold, as overnight lows dip into the teens. Daytime highs on the first day of the weekend will return to the low 40s.
Another chance of rain will arrive Sunday as highs climb back into the 50s.
The warm-up will be brief, however, as another blast of even colder air will move back in late Monday. Highs Tuesday may not reach 25 degrees, and overnight lows during the middle of next week will be between 10 and 15 degrees.
"Temperatures will moderate over the weekend a bit, but we'll see the coldest air of the season early next week," Gardner said. "We could be near record highs and lows on Tuesday and Wednesday."