Cool air, rain to return Friday following midweek warm-up

Posted October 24, 2012 10:23 a.m. EDT
Updated October 24, 2012 11:17 a.m. EDT

— Unseasonably warm air will make a brief return to central and eastern North Carolina Wednesday and Thursday as a high-pressure system sits over the state, WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said. 

High temperatures will climb into the low 80s both days, about 10 to 15 degrees above normal for late October. Overnight lows will be mild as well, only falling into the low 50s.

"We're going to have great weather to be outside," Gardner said. "Temperatures will be warm. and the high pressure system will keep showers well north of us until at least Friday."

A cold front that's forecast to arrive in the Triangle Friday will send temperatures tumbling and also bring with it the next chance for rainfall. Temperatures will stay in the mid-70s Friday before dipping into the upper 60s Saturday and low 60s Sunday. 

By early next week, highs could dip into the upper 50s with overnight lows reaching the upper 30s. 

Rainfall probabilities in the Triangle and along the North Carolina coast will vary widely based on the track of Hurricane Sandy. The storm reached hurricane strength shortly after 11 a.m. Wednesday, just before making landfall in Jamaica. 

At 11 a.m., Sandy had sustained winds of 80 mph and was moving north at 14 mph. 

Once the storm clears Jamaica, Cuba and the Bahamas, it will likely skirt past the eastern coast of Florida. Current models have the storm moving away from the coastline as it moves northward toward the Carolinas, a track which would include rain and some wind for the North Carolina coast. 

If the track shifts westward, however, coastal counties could see heavier rain, wind and possibly beach erosion Sunday and Monday.

"No models bring it onshore, but if that track shifts west at all we could see more impact along the South Carolina and North Carolina coast," Gardner said. "It's something we're going to have to track over the next several days."