Bitterly cold temps will be brief, but intense

Posted January 2, 2012
Updated January 3, 2012

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— The second of two passing cold fronts will bring the coldest temperatures of the season to the Triangle area Tuesday, with highs on the third day of 2012 not making it out of the upper 30s.

Strong winds gusting to as much as 30 mph will make it feel 10 to 15 degrees cooler for much of the day, WRAL Meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said.

"A cold, windy day today," Gardner said. "The wind chill is going to make it feel like the teens and low 20s throughout the day today. That's what you really need to prepare for."

Tuesday will be the coldest day the Triangle has had since Feb. 4, 2011.

Late Monday, some areas saw snow flurries falling, including Sanford, Fayetteville, Spring Lake, Hope Mills and Rocky Mount.

Temperatures should bottom out in the mid 20s by early Tuesday morning. The cold air will stay around Tuesday, with highs only reaching the upper 30s for much of central North Carolina.

"Boone and areas near the Virginia border could see several inches (of snow)," Gardner said. "There is a winter weather advisory in effect for the northern mountains tonight and into the first part of the day Tuesday."

WRAL Weather team WRAL WeatherCenter Forecast

Daytime highs in the Triangle will climb back into the 40s to near 50 Wednesday and Thursday, but lows should stay in the mid 20s, Gardner said. 

Above average temperatures will return late in the week, with highs Friday, Saturday and Sunday climbing back into the upper 50s and low 60s. 

"A lot of times we get into January and we get into cruise control with colder temperatures," Gardner said. "That's not going to be the case later this week and this weekend. We're going to be riding that temperature roller-coaster. 


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  • trekkie13 Jan 3, 2012

    anne53ozzy, a pipe still can freeze especially if it is a drip or very slow trickle if certain conditions are met such as a pipe being subjected to ever increasing lowered temperatures. For example a dripping pipe exposed to 15 degrees stands a far greater probability of freezing compared to a pipe that is slow dripping being exposed to 25 degrees. At a certain temperature a drip or slow trickle is no longer going to prevent freezing but only delay it. Leaving a slow trickle on does have two benefits because it delays freezing and it keeps the faucet open to alleviate pressure in the pipe if the pipe does freeze. With that stated a normal flow of water through the spigot would make the pipe almost impossible to freeze and how well insulated the pipes determine if they freeze as well as the temperature of the house radiating to the pipes. Pipes normally begin to freeze if not insulated at twenty degrees. Of course this is just an average and pipes could freeze at higher temp.

  • anne53ozzy Jan 3, 2012

    trekkie13 thanks for restating that. Many people do not know that as long as the water is moving, depending on temp, the pipes will not freeze. It does not need to flow in a large stream.

  • Dark_Horse Jan 3, 2012

    Cold weather in January?
    Who would have thought that could happen?!

  • brmyspots Jan 3, 2012

    The earth "cycles" about every 10,000 to 75,000 years so inevitably another ice age is coming at some time possibly after man perishes from the earth. We're but a speck in time of earth's history. In the meantime however, the diminishing ozone will continually heat up the crust and atmosphere. This is grade school science folks. One cold day doesn't retract the fact of global warming. Yes, it's a fact and no longer a supposition.

  • seankelly15 Jan 3, 2012

    yukonjohn3 - You do realize that the Yukon is in Canada and not in the US, right?

  • seankelly15 Jan 3, 2012

    vraptor - "The earth is just a burp away from becoming an ice planet again."

    Hmmm... you do realize that 1971 was over 40 years ago; 1985 26 years ago. Then, 24 years later one city with a temp of -50 (the previous record was set in 1925). There is not a single legitimate scientist who believes that the earth is cooling.

  • trekkie13 Jan 3, 2012

    anne53ozzy stated: "I see several plumber's trucks about town. Leave the water dripping slowly on the cold tap and that may help prevent this issue. In addtion, close up any vents to the crawl space, even if just with cardboard."

    Many people do not know this but the reason it is a great idea to keep the water dripping is not mainly because a trickle of moving water slows down a pipe from freezing but rather it helps alleviates pipe bursts if a pipe does freeze! Most of the time when a pipe bursts it is because of the increased pressure between the area of the frozen water and the faucet. When water is trickling the faucet is open and if the pipe does freeze the open faucet allows pressure buildup in the pipe to escape. The last couple of times I have had frozen pipes the pipes did not bust because I left the spigot open.

  • cleliafry Jan 3, 2012

    Call it "climate change" and it makes a lot more sense, jblake1932.

  • TeenDAD Jan 3, 2012

    Herp derp its cold out today so global warming doesnt exist. LOL

  • brmyspots Jan 3, 2012

    Facts prove/disprove global warming. Can you show any facts, mr. biologist?jblake1932

    You must be the only person on the planet who thinks this is a fairytale. Ask anyone who has an education beyond the 4th grade. I have about 2 million factual instances that support global warming from leading scientists and don't need to show you anything as a non-believer. Denying something doesn't make it go away.

    And it's Ms. Biologist to you.