Weather

Arctic air puts freeze on Triangle

Posted November 12, 2013 6:22 a.m. EST
Updated November 12, 2013 10:52 p.m. EST

— A powerful cold front moved into central and eastern North Carolina on Tuesday, setting up a bitterly cold night and spurring snow flurries across parts of the region.

WRAL News viewers reported flurries, sleet and freezing rain in Raleigh, Mebane, Roanoke Rapids, Red Oak, Pearces, Rolesville, Wendell, Wake Forest, Roxboro, Tarboro and other areas.

Warm ground temperatures and a lack of moisture associated with the front kept any accumulation from sticking to roadways. Nosediving temperatures and biting wind were of greater concern, WRAL meteorologist Mike Maze said.

"This arctic air mass is an invasion, all the way to the deep South," he said.

Temperatures rose into the 60s by lunchtime Tuesday and plummeted by as much as 20 degrees within a few hours. Wind gusts between 20 and 30 mph were making it feel even colder.

The line that brought widespread flurries was expected to clear the Triangle by midnight, setting the stage for a clear – but very cold – overnight.

In Raleigh, the mercury is expected to reach 29 degrees by 8 a.m. Wednesday. Daytime highs in the region will only reach the mid-40s, about 20 degrees below normal for mid-November. 

"It will be cold Wednesday morning at the bus stop, so dress your children accordingly," Maze said.

Steve Abbott, a spokesman with the state Department of Transportation, said crews have plenty of sand and salt at the ready if any slippery spots turn up by morning.

Crews in Wake, Durham, Franklin, Person, Vance, Granville and Warren counties were busy conducting "snow and ice prep dry runs" Tuesday, Abbott said. That included fitting plows, calibrating spreaders, learning brine and plow routes and keeping equipment primed.

Gradual warming will begin Thursday, with daytime highs climbing back to 70 degrees by Sunday. There is a chance of rain over the weekend, but Maze said residents shouldn't expect a washout.