State News

Arctic air to descend on N.C.

Posted January 14, 2009 4:03 a.m. EST
Updated March 9, 2009 5:12 p.m. EDT

— A blast of arctic air will soon send shivers across North Carolina. A cold front will move in early Thursday, pushing the mercury below freezing.

"The cold front will be just about on us at 7 a.m. Thursday. The sun will be coming up, and that will be competing with the cold air. Initially, the sun will win the battle ... and temperatures will go up temporarily during the morning and into the midday hours," WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel said.

Thursday's highs – in the mid 30s or lower 40s – will occur early in the day before temperatures begin to plummet.

By afternoon, it will be windy with temperatures falling. As the sun sets, the wind will pick up, gusting up to 25 mph and creating a feeling of temperatures in the teens.

Temperatures will drop Thursday night into the teens in much of the state and into the single digits in western counties.

It won't warm up much Friday. The forecast high is a frigid 27 degrees. The temperature could drop to 9 degrees early Saturday.

"That would be the coldest since Jan. 29, 2000," Fishel said.

Temperatures are expected to moderate Saturday, but remain below normal for this time of year.

With such cold weather, it is important to take steps to keep exposed pipes from bursting and to make sure pets are protected. Low temperatures can also result in more dead car batteries. Weak batteries typically go dead in frigid weather.

The homeless are also more at risk as prolonged exposure to cold temperatures can result in hypothermia.

Wake County Human Services will implement its "White Flag" system when temperatures hit 32 degrees. An actual white flag is displayed at shelters as a reminder to come inside and get out of the cold. More people are also allowed to stay than usual. 

Durham Rescue Mission officials plan to activate "Operation Warm Shelter," their effort to help provide shelter for the homeless during extreme cold.