Record low possible before coldest parade in decades

Posted November 21, 2008

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— Temperatures could reach a record low Friday night in the hours leading up to what is expected to be the coldest Raleigh Christmas Parade in nearly 30 years, WRAL Meteorologist Mike Maze said.

Overnight lows were expected to be in the low 20s. The record for Raleigh is 23 degrees.

Saturday morning will start out in the low 20s, rising to around 30 degrees by the 9:30 a.m. start of the Christmas parade. Wind chills are expected to be in the low 20s early Saturday.

“We will have a noticeable breeze which could make it feel colder than it actually is,” WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel said.

By Saturday afternoon conditions are expected to be similar to Friday at the same time, but with less wind.

On Friday, temperatures barely warmed up into the low 40s, and strong winds gusted to 25 mph.

The wind was expected to drop humidity levels rapidly – which could fuel wildfires. The National Weather Service advised residents in central North Carolina to avoid burning leaves.

Some "big, fat, fluffy” snowflakes fell early Friday.

Send and view pictures of the snow.

The arrival of a cold front and an upper-level disturbance at the same time made the snow early Friday.

"We've got the colder air coming in as the precipitation comes in. ... It's just working out perfectly this morning," WRAL Meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said.

The heaviest snow in central portions of the state fell north and west of a line from Henderson to Durham to Asheboro. Around Winston-Salem, along Interstate 40, about half-an-inch fell.

"Other places in our viewing area got just a trace, and it melted very quickly," Gardner said.

In the mountains, police responded to dozens of wrecks during the surprise snowfall.

A truck jackknifed, and rescue crews took the driver to a hospital. Police said the truck spilled some diesel fuel, but not enough to be considered dangerous.

A stretch of Interstate 40 near the Buncombe-Haywood county line was closed and traffic detoured while crews spread salt on the roadway.

Schools in Buncombe and other mountain counties closed for the day. Students in Guilford and Forsyth counties got a two-hour delay.


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  • Sir Freezy McQuackers Nov 21, 2008

    For the people talking about global warming: weather and climate are not the same. It is possible for us to experience global warming and still get cold in the winter.

  • hi_i_am_wade Nov 21, 2008

    Records are made to be broken. Of course, our records only go back to the late 1800's, so our accurate weather history is very short. We don't have any data from the Little Ice Age and Medieval Warm Period, just anecdotal evidence.

  • stonky Nov 21, 2008

    yeah! I was thinking about those people that buy into global warming Global Warming also..We need some snow in Ral/Dur anyway!

  • Funky Neighbor LEE Nov 21, 2008

    No wonder Rudolph's nose is Red.

  • ThePunisher Nov 21, 2008

    welcome to Global Cooling. I need to burn more fossil fuels to keep warm

  • iamyeary Nov 21, 2008


  • JoCoGrl Nov 21, 2008

    My daughter and I will be in the parade tomorrow. I am freezing just thinking about it.

  • bs101fly Nov 21, 2008

    this just in:

    rumor has it that it WILL snow again this season!

  • whocares Nov 21, 2008

    When I was small, it was cold at Thanksgiving and we had to bundle up to go to the parade. It is really seeming to be a lot like Thanksgiving is supposed to be.

  • seaturtles246 Nov 21, 2008