Wintry Mix Might Jinx Tuesday Morning Commute

Posted January 21, 2008

— Cold temperatures that greeted early morning risers on Monday appear to be here to stay, while freezing rain might disrupt the commute on Tuesday morning, WRAL Meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner predicted.

Temperatures dropped into the teens and low 20s across Central and Eastern North Carolina shortly before sunrise Monday. At 7 a.m., Raleigh had 17 degrees and Chapel Hill 16, while Rocky Mount and Fayetteville checked in at 19 degrees.

Roxboro and Louisburg bottomed out at 12 degrees, but Lumberton topped out the charts with a chilly 22 degrees.

Skies will remain clear Monday, but "even with all that sunshine, it's not going to warm things up for us," Gardner said. "Here we are at noon with most temperatures below freezing, an incredible air mass out there."

Temperatures will struggle to reach a high of 39 degrees in the afternoon and then dip into the low 20s again overnight. A system from the south will also roll in early hours Tuesday, bringing moisture with it.

"With temperatures this cold and a little precipitation early tomorrow morning, you see we could have some issues," Gardner said.

Whether the Triangle sees mostly rain or freezing depends on timing, Gardner said. If the moisture arrives closer to 6 a.m., the precipitation will be frozen. If the moisture materializes closer to 10 a.m., warmer temperatures will keep lots of frozen liquid from forming.

"Most likely what that is going to be is freezing rain, unfortunately," Gardner said "The main problem it is most likely to cause for tomorrow morning is some slick spots on the road.

"The freezing rain will be spotty, so we're not anticipating the kind of accumulations that knock down power lines or make a significant ice storm at all."

Only a little freezing rain, though, Gardner warned, can create "big road impact."

On Dec. 7, 2007, wet snow, flurries and freezing rain put a light glaze on bridges and highways throughout the Triangle. That was enough to cause one fatality and dozens of wrecks and shut down portions of Interstates 40 and 85; U.S. Highways 1, 70 and 401; and Falls of the Neuse Road – slowing the commute to crawl.

The wintry precipitation will turn to rain by lunchtime Tuesday.

The rest of the week will bring "decreasing clouds, but no increase in the temperatures," Gardner said.

On Friday and Saturday, early morning risers might, again, be greeted by temperatures in the teens.


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  • wcranford Jan 21, 2008

    I think it was wonderful to see the happiness just the anticipation of snow brings. The everyday drudgery was lifted for just a few days and it was awesome! People were excited! Even though we didn't get the dumping that was originally forecasted, it was still nice to see some snow. My 3 year old was estatic. It didn't matter to him if it was one inch or one foot! Think what a difference it would be if we all saw through the eyes of a child!

  • blondton13 Jan 21, 2008

    I for one appreciate the difficulty of forecasting certain events in this area. I know the meterologists do the best they can with the circumstances they work with. Maybe they should emphasize the various factors in this area that can affect/change certain forecasts so the naysayers will have a better understanding.
    With that being said, I hope the possibility of freezing rain danger is over by 8:30. I have a new job orientation that I need to get to! Luckily, Durham schools are on a teaher workday so no worries about the little one riding a bus! :)

  • sgtbob06 Jan 21, 2008

    12 years ago I lived in upstate N.Y., that said when the wind came out of the north in the winter we knew we would get snow off lake ontario (by the feet many times). N.C. is in the middle of the east coast, winds go every which way, one day we are hot tne next cold,one day clear the next cloudy, mountians to the west, the coast to the east, give them a break anyone can look up and say it's clear and cold but not all that many can tell us what will happen a week down the road.

  • teach4er Jan 21, 2008

    I wanted to hurry and get something on here before the 7:00 deadline when the moderator goes home.

    Yes Kim Deaner is attractive, my vote goes to Debra Morgan.

  • denverbob234 Jan 21, 2008

    SaveEnergyMan, I don't think we are speaking of just 1 forecast. The wrongcasts that WRAL makes are worse than the forecasts 15 years ago, before all the most up to date radar satelites, etc. Seems they rely too much on technogoly and know nothing about forecasting the weather.

  • BULLDOZER Jan 21, 2008

    Ahh, another prediction by WRAL's crack weather guys/gals.They made hourly cut ins about the 4"'s we were getting on Saturday. I think we saw a dusting. Let's face it, throwing darts across a room at possible forecasts might be more accurate.

  • IfByWhiskey-a-go-go Jan 21, 2008

    Well this blog has always been full of second guessers, arm chair quarter backs, and bar stool lawyers. Now we got a full complement of weather experts.

    What a bunch of whiners. Sheesh.

    Yes, Kim Deaner is hot.

  • SaveEnergyMan Jan 21, 2008

    Boy, there are a lot of armchair quarterbacks out there! To those that criticize any of the fine meteorologists in the area (they all had essentially the same forecast), go to school for four years and learn how hard it is to forecast the weather. I think you may find forecasting lottery numbers to be easier. The predicting the dynamics of atmospheric flows, temperature, and precipitation are as much an art as it is a science. And yes, sometimes the forecast is simply their best guess. Give them a break.

  • shakennotstirred Jan 21, 2008

    Seriously folks, there is no better technology than wral's dual dopplers or is it there is no more powerful doppler than wtvd's. Really! Who cares! Just tell me with some reasonable accuracy how much it's going to snow and when. Even more nauseating, is the hurricane predictions that they try to make 6 months in advance. Let me guess, 20 named storms, 5 major, 3 to hit the states. I bet that's close and all I did was use my magic 8 ball. Spare me all the rediculous guessing, and start showing your right/wrong percentages for 5,3 and 1 day predictions. That would impress me...

  • daddyham Jan 21, 2008

    Man, this snippet doesn't line up with what I seeing on the Weather Channel for Raleigh. ( Looks a lot like the "left-hand right-hand" syndrome.