WRAL WeatherCenter Blog

Weekend chill abates

Posted September 19, 2011

For a good part of last week, we looked ahead to a cold front we thought would bring an honest-to-goodness shot of much cooler air to the region; a nice preview of Fall and break from heat and humidity. Not only did the cooler air roll in pretty much on schedule, it combined with cloud cover and some periods of drizzle and light rain in a way that ended up setting new records two days in a row for the lowest high temperature ever observed on those dates at RDU! The attached image shows how it played out, keeping in mind that our normal highs for those days are in the low 80s. On Friday, the old record for coolest high was 67 degrees, which occurred in 1951. We undercut that one by 7 degrees with a high of 60 to finish out the week, and then on Saturday we topped out at 61, which broke the old record of 64 from 1959. On Sunday, we stayed well below normal for the date with a high of 70, but didn't seriously threaten the old record of 62 from back in 1961. After a couple of days in the mid or upper 70s to kick off this week, our recovery should take temperatures back up to the low 80s for a few days, for those of you who enjoy hanging on to warmer weather for a while longer.

Another item we're watching this week is a tropical disturbance out in the Atlantic. For now, its only "name" is Invest 98L, but the National Hurricane Center is estimating about a 60% chance it becomes a tropical cyclone within the next day or two. If it becomes a tropical storm before any other system spins up out there, it would get the name "Ophelia." So far, most computer models take it on a westerly track that would leave it somewhere a little south of Puerto Rico or Hispaniola by late in the weekend, with intensity forecasts suggesting it may have a tough time becoming a hurricane, or may even be vulnerable to some dissipation by early next week. Of course, tropical system intensity forecasting remains a great challenge, so we'll probably have to wait a few days to get a better sense of how that will all play out. Remember you can follow the progress of systems like this using the interactive tracking map in the "hurricanes" section of our web site. Be sure to note the link below the map on that page that allows you to view it at a larger size.

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