Published: 2013-12-20 07:55:56
Updated: 2013-12-20 07:55:56
Posted December 20, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — The final days of the 2013 holiday shopping season will be warm and potentially wet across central and eastern North Carolina, but sunshine and cool temperatures will be back for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said.
Partly cloudy skies are likely throughout Friday and Saturday, and daytime highs will climb into the upper 60s and low 70s.
On Saturday, the first day of winter, temperatures at Raleigh-Durham International Airport will likely top out at record levels. The warmest Dec. 21 on record at RDU came in 1967, when the mercury hit 71 degrees.
"Saturday is the shortest day of the year, and it's the official start of winter, but it won't feel like it," Gardner said. "Sunday will be even warmer as our next system approaches."
That system, which was beginning to organize in the central part of the country on Friday morning, will be a combination of an area of low pressure and moisture from the Gulf of Mexico. As it begins its march across the Midwest, the system could create travel delays for millions headed home for the holidays.
"It's going to be a pretty potent system, and it's going to create some messy weather across much of the central part of the country," Gardner said. "Some areas will see heavy rain and even thunderstorms, and those on the backside of the system could see wintry weather."
Rain from the system will arrive in the Triangle late Sunday, a day when high temperatures could be near 80 degrees despite mostly cloudy skies.
Precipitation will linger in the area on Monday as temperatures begin a quick dip back toward normal.
"We'll see some clearing late in the day on Monday, but it's going to be pretty messy overall," Gardner said. "Overnight lows will fall pretty rapidly ahead of Christmas Eve, falling back into the upper 30s after being in the mid-60s on Sunday night."
Highs Tuesday and Wednesday will stay in the mid-40s as sunshine returns.