Maze: Conveyor belt of moisture keeps the clouds coming

Posted December 25, 2018 8:16 p.m. EST
Updated December 25, 2018 8:32 p.m. EST

— After a sunny, clear and seasonable Wednesday, the upper level winds over central North Carolina are in for a change, setting up a pattern of unsettled weather that begins at the end of the week and lasts into the new year.

"We'll have mostly sunny skies if not completely sunny skies (on Wednesday)," WRAL meteorologist Mike Maze said.

The forecast calls for typical late December high temperatures of 52 degrees Wednesday and Thursday before the rollercoaster of precipitation chances picks up.

A flow of air from the southwest transports moisture into the area Thursday morning, and clouds will build throughout the day, Maze said. There is a chance for rain by Thursday evening. That chance increases Thursday night.

"On Friday morning, if you have to go to work, your commute will be wet," Maze said. "And it will be wet throughout the entire day. There could even be a thunderstorm."

Some locations could see as much as two inches of rain fall on Friday. Should that happen, Raleigh-Durham International Airport would measure a record amount of rainfall for the year. The current record was set in 1996 when 59.14 inches of rain fell at the airport. Through Christmas Day, RDU had seen 58.52 inches in 2018.

Friday will be warm. The forecast calls for temperatures in the mid-60s and a low of only 55 degrees Friday night.

The rain pushes out Friday night only to return for the back half of the weekend and to threaten again Monday and Tuesday to dampen New Year's Even festivities.

"It's a conveyor belt of moisture that's going to keep it unsettled," Maze said. "Not raining every day, but a chance each day."

Models suggest a mostly cloudy but dry Saturday with a high near 68, then rain returns Saturday night and early Sunday.

7-Day Forecast

The outlook for Monday and Tuesday is still coming into focus, especially the timing of any showers.

"Don't cancel outdoor plans yet for First Night," Maze said. "By the time we get to Monday, it may look different."