Cold, rain arrive; a few flakes in Friday forecast

Posted December 5, 2017 5:56 a.m. EST
Updated July 13, 2018 2:06 p.m. EDT

— WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel warned snow lovers Tuesday not to get their hopes up for big, fluffy flakes this week.

"Even if we see snow, we expect the temperatures to be above freezing at the surface, so anything that falls won't stick," he said of the Friday forecast for a chance of rain and snow.

The big change – cold air from the north and dampness from the south – moves in overnight.

"It's not usual to have 40-degree temperatures in December in the Triangle," Fishel said. "The difference is that on Wednesday and Thursday those early morning lows won't be climbing by 20 degrees. Instead, the warmup will only amount to a few degees."

The forecast calls for high temperatures around the 50-degree mark Wednesday and Thursday behind a front that will bring up to 3/4 of an inch of rain. Central North Carolina will get a soaking late Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning. The chance of rain overnight around the Triangle region jumps to 80 percent and lingers at 40 percent through Wednesday.

7-Day Forecast

The unsettled weather pattern brings another chance of precipitation late Thursday and into Friday, and that's where the wintry mix comes in. Highs in the low 40s around midday Friday could dip down into the 30s during the afternoon.

"This is some cold air flying out of Canada and right into North Carolina," WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said.

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The jet stream pattern right over Raleigh will favor precipitation Friday night. The big question is whether it will be cold enough for any of that to turn to snow.

"Temperatures may be cold enough to allow some of the resulting precipitation to fall in frozen form," Gardner said. "We're talking about some rain that has some flakes mixed in."

"This outlook favors rain at the beginning and wet snow toward the end," Fishel said.

Friday would be the first time this week where temperatures have the potential to dip below the freezing mark, and that relative warmth will limit any snow that falls from sticking around.

"It's close, but close won't get us there," Gardner said. "Given the borderline temperatures involved and rather warm soil temperatures, it appears so far that if any snow does manage to reach the surface, it is not likely to accumulate."

Through Saturday morning, skies will clear, but the cold weather sticks around into the middle of next week.

"By midweek," Fishel said, "We've got another shot of cold to amplify the first one."