Get ready: Bitterly cold air coming to the Triangle

Posted January 29, 2019 1:00 p.m. EST
Updated January 30, 2019 4:41 a.m. EST

— Bone-chilling, frigid windy weather will blanket the Triangle over the next 48 hours.

What to know:

  • Wind chills Wednesday will range in the teens with wind gusts of up to 30 mph.
  • WRAL News goes on-air Wednesday at 4 a.m.
  • Several schools, including Halifax County Schools, Edgecombe County Schools and Nash-Rocky Mount Schools made the decision to delay classes Wednesday as a result of the weather.

The majority of rain had ended in the Triangle by Tuesday night, and WRAL meteorologist Mike Maze said most of the moisture will evaporate before the air becomes cold enough to freeze it and create black ice.

There could be some issues in the northern counties, but even there travel impacts will be minimal.

"If anything, it's an elevated road or bridge that could have an icy spot," Maze said.

Although the risk for ice is minimal, temperatures will tumble overnight, and Triangle residents will wake up to wind chills in the teens and low 20s Wednesday morning.

Wind chills will stay in the 30s by the afternoon and will continue to drop overnight. On Thursday morning, many will wake up to actual temperatures in the teens.

"It's going to be a quick cold shot, but not as cold as we had last Monday, when our temperatures were right at freezing," Maze said.

The high temperature on Thursday will climb to just 37 degrees, but things begin to warm up after that. Maze said that temperatures could reach nearly 70 degrees by next week.

She said wind gusts of up to 30 miles per hour are possible on Wednesday.

The high temperature on Tuesday is expected to top out in the low 50s, but the mercury will plunge to below freezing during the overnight hours. The high temperature on Wednesday will manage to reach the low 40s but the wind chill will make it seem much colder.

Wednesday's low temperature is expected to descend to the teens, Gardner said.

Potential wind chill Wednesday

Deep freeze grips Midwest

The extreme cold and record-breaking temperatures are crawling into a swath of states spanning from North Dakota to Missouri and into Ohio after a powerful snowstorm pounded the region earlier this week.

Arctic air early Tuesday dropped temperatures in the Dakotas and Minnesota to as low as minus 27 degrees (negative 33 degrees Celsius), with wind chills as cold as minus 59 (negative 51 degrees Celsius).

"You're talking about frostbite and hypothermia issues very quickly, like in a matter of minutes, maybe seconds," said Brian Hurley, a meteorologist with the Weather Prediction Center.

Among the universities closed into Thursday are the University of South Dakota, Iowa State University and the University of Minnesota. Minneapolis Public Schools officials also canceled classes through Wednesday, when the region is expected to experience frigidly low temperatures not seen in a quarter century. Hundreds of Michigan schools were closed Tuesday, including in Detroit, while Chicago Public Schools canceled Wednesday classes because of the anticipated cold snap.

Subzero temperatures hit some states Tuesday, but Wednesday is expected to be the worst. Wind chills in northern Illinois could fall to negative 55 degrees (negative 48 degrees Celsius), which the National Weather Service called "possibly life threatening."

Minnesota temperatures could hit minus 30 degrees (negative 34 degrees Celsius) with a wind chill of negative 60 (negative 51 degrees Celsius).

The potentially record-breaking low temperature forecast in Milwaukee is negative 28 degrees (negative 33 degrees Celsius), with a wind chill as low as negative 50 (negative 45 degrees Celsius). The current record of minus 26 degrees (negative 32 degrees Celsius) was set in 1996.

"That's 40 degrees below normal," Hurley said.