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Dip in temps, gas prices start Memorial Day weekend

Posted May 27, 2011 7:38 a.m. EDT
Updated May 27, 2011 9:04 a.m. EDT

— High temperatures and gas prices have pummeled North Carolinians recently, but they're both taking a small dip for Memorial Day weekend.

The daily highs will reach around 86 degrees Friday, 83 degrees Saturday and 88 degrees Sunday – still above normal but a relief from a four-day string of 90-plus degree highs.

"There's a trade-off. It will be cooler, but we have a better chance of storms," WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said.

Scattered afternoon and evening storms could strike both Friday and Saturday. On Friday, the best chance for storms will be from the Triangle west, while both central and eastern North Carolina have a shot at storms Saturday.

"Those storms certainly could bring some damaging winds and large hail, but we are not expecting widespread severe weather," Gardner said.

The chance of storms will recede on Memorial Day, and 90-degree temperatures will also make their return.

Gas prices have also skyrocketed recently and remain about a dollar more expensive than this time last year. However, prices have started to come down in the past week – a small break for the 865,000 North Carolinians who AAA expects to hit the road for Memorial Day.

AAA Fuel Gauge estimated that a gallon of regular, unleaded gas cost an average of $3.695 in Raleigh and $3.71 in North Carolina on Friday. That was down from an average of $3.87 three weeks ago.

WRAL News found gas for as low as $3.55 a gallon at an Exxon station on Lake Wheeler Road in Raleigh and $3.66 at a BP station on Miami Boulevard in Durham and at an Exxon station on Ramsey Street in Fayetteville.

Earlier in May, gas prices were pushing $4 a gallon at some stations in Raleigh.

Experts say that the price of crude oil has gone down because of a slight dip in unemployment compared to April and the strengthening dollar. Generally, as the dollar strengthens, people invest it in more and less in commodities such as crude oil, driving down their prices.

Oil prices have fallen more than $10 a barrel since the beginning of May.