A blast of unseasonably cold arctic air, that is. A cold front that crossed North Carolina last Thursday into Friday ushered in some air the likes of which hasn't been seen in the state on the same dates since the late Fall of 1976. The shot of very cold air that briefly invaded the region on the 8th and 9th just missed setting some records for lowest high temperatures on the 8th (our high at RDU on Friday was 37 degrees, while the record for "lowest high" on that date is 36), but did set or tie several record lows on the morning of the 9th. Previous records were tied at Asheville (14 degrees), Raleigh-Durham (16) and Greensboro (17), all previously set in 1976, while Charlotte (14, breaking a record of 16 from back in 1917!) and New Bern (17, besting a previous record from 1968) established new extreme lows.
The good news for those who prefer milder weather is that the duration of cold air pouring into the state from the north and northwest was rather brief, and with high pressure overhead through the weekend, sunshine and light winds allowed rapid modification of the airmass, so that by Sunday afternoon we reached the upper 50s for highs around much of the area, with RDU topping out at 60 and Roanoke Rapids at 61. It appears we're in for a fairly mild week ahead as well, with a mostly "zonal" flow across the country that should leave temperatures at or a little above normal on most afternoons.