Triangle temperatures to dip after taste of spring

Posted February 18, 2012 6:19 a.m. EST
Updated February 18, 2012 11:42 p.m. EST

— Saturday brought a taste of spring to the Triangle, with temperatures climbing to a high of 65 degrees. That is about about 10 degrees above the norm for Feb. 18, and at least 20 degrees more than the forecast high for Sunday.

While some clouds were present, light winds from the southwest made Saturday a perfect day to get outside, said WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel.

"If you had outdoor plans for the weekend, there wasn't any debate that was needed. It was going to have to be today, and we certainly hope you had a chance to enjoy today because tomorrow is going to be the antithesis of what we saw today," Fishel said.

The change that comes on Sunday will be triggered by low pressure from along the Gulf Coast moving into North Carolina, bringing thicker clouds and eventually rain on Sunday.

"The weekend is really a tale of two seasons," meteorologist Mike Moss said.

Even Saturday night temperatures will be mild, falling from about 50 degrees at midnight to the mid-30s by dawn Sunday. The mercury will be hard pressed to climb above 40 degrees at all Sunday.

The winds shift to the north and east, and precipitation, beginning late Saturday, will be steady throughout the day on Sunday, Moss said. Look for a rainy, cold day that could bring a hint of sleet or ice.

"We may see some mixed precipitation off to our north and west while we see only cold rain here in the Triangle," Moss said.

"At some point during the day Sunday, we're going to see a change-over," WRAL meteorologist Mike Maze said. Some of the rain could even become snow overnight and early Monday. "We might get a few flakes in the air," he said. 

Maze said Raleigh and Fayetteville could see a trace of snow. The chances for snowfall and accumulation are greater toward the Virginia border.

After the sun comes up on Monday morning, any lingering ice or snow will quickly melt away, leaving the possibility for slick driving on bridges and overpasses. 

Snow or no, students on traditional calendars in Wake County public schools have Monday off for a teacher work day.