Flurries fly, temperatures drop

Posted November 18, 2008 8:22 a.m. EST
Updated November 19, 2008 12:16 a.m. EST

— Bitterly cold winds blew across the state Tuesday as a few places reported snow flurries.

Heavy snow showers were reported in downtown Durham, in Cary and in Raleigh Tuesday afternoon. An upper-level area of low pressure was "squeezing out some snow flurries" as it moved out of the area, WRAL meteorologist Nate Johnson said.

WRAL viewers reported seeing flakes in north Raleigh, in Oxford, in Tarboro and in Carrboro. Flurries were visible from the windows of the WRAL studio on Western Boulevard.

Roanoke Rapids residents reported snow Tuesday morning. Schools closed in three western counties after officials decided that light snowfall made roads too slick for buses.

"Snow showers are driven by the same thing that causes summer-time thunderstorms – a rapid decrease of temperature with height," WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel said.

Not everyone saw snow, but everyone could feel the chill in the air, WRAL Meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said.

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"We've got a huge cool down on our hands," she said. "It's very cold for this time of year."

With wind chill, Tuesday afternoon temperatures will feel like they are just at the freezing mark. Fishel said temperatures on Tuesday reached the mid-40s, which was "colder than normal" for even the middle of January.

As the system departs the area in the afternoon, the air will dry and temperatures will fall even further than they did on Monday.

The low will dip into the 20s before dawn Wednesday. Tomorrow shapes up to be less windy, clear and just as cold.

Thursday shapes up as the warmest day of the week, with a high in the mid-50s being forecast.

Early computer models show the cold returning and temperatures dropping back below the freezing mark by the weekend. If you are headed out to the Christmas parade in Raleigh on Saturday, Fishel said, bundle up.

In anticipation of nights below freezing, staff and volunteers with the Durham Rescue Mission are touring areas known to be frequented by the homeless to offer transportation and shelter. The mission is open to men at 1201 E. Main St. Women and children may seek shelter at the Good Samaritan Inn, 507 E. Knox St.