Triangle temps take a sudden turn south
Posted October 27, 2008 7:37 a.m. EDT
Updated October 27, 2008 7:52 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — The Triangle could see the first freeze of the season later on this week as a result of a cold front that significantly cooled the air Monday afternoon.
WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel said the narrow band of clouds that pushed east from the mountains Monday brought brisk winds and a few reports of sleet to central North Carolina.
Raleigh-Durham International Airport reported 45 degrees just after 5 p.m. after the official high temperature hit 60 degrees at about noon.
Those clouds have mostly moved on, leaving clear skies and cold temperatures in the forecasts.
"As we head toward tomorrow, we are right in the core of the trough," Fishel said. Tuesday will be windy and chilly, warming only into the low 50s.
Freeze watches were posted for Monday night and Tuesday morning for several counties in the western half of the Triangle.
Viewers in Alamance, Person and Granville counties reported spotty sleet Monday afternoon. Winds picked up throughout the afternoon, pushing the cold air down from the mountains of western North Carolina.
"This is one of those rare cases where a system can cross the mountains and survive with any precipitation at all," Fishel said.
Usually, weather systems sink east of the mountains, Fishel said. "This system is so strong it is overcoming that."
Despite cloudy skies and some scattered reports of sleet, Monday's conditions were more water cooler than weather event, Fishel said.
In the western part of the state, the National Weather Service predicted a chance of snowfall and rain after midnight with lows around 30.
Forecasters also called for snow showers Tuesday before 11 a.m., followed by rain. Accumulations are expected to be less than a half-inch.
Less than a half-inch of snow accumulation was expected near the Tennessee border. Winds are likely to be up to 20 mph.
At Cataloochee Ski Area, officials started making snow Monday morning and planned to open the resort early Tuesday afternoon. That would be the earliest opening date ever for Cataloochee.
In Raleigh, cooler-than-normal conditions will prevail for the next few days, before a warmup later in the week.