Swing to winter starts Thursday

Posted March 12, 2009 6:14 a.m. EDT
Updated March 12, 2009 9:19 p.m. EDT

— Sunny skies, warm temperatures – well, they couldn't last forever in North Carolina during March.

From Thursday, the weather will shift back to winter, with chilly temperatures and rainy skies.

"We've had a nice run with temperatures anywhere from 15 to 25 degrees above normal," WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said. "So, we've got to swing the pendulum the other way, and we, in fact, will be a good 15 to 25 degrees below normal over the next several days."

Thursday dawned with temperatures in the mid-50s or lower across much of the region, and the mercury won't rise much throughout the day. Clouds will thicken, and a few stray sprinkles are possible.

The overnight low will be around 36 degrees, and winter returns Friday, with a high in the 30s and brief periods of freezing rain possible in the morning.

No accumulation is expected, but icy patches could briefly form on elevated surfaces such as bridges. Counties north of Interstate 40 and west of Interstate 85 have the best shot at some freezing rain.

Cloudy, rainy, cold weather continues this weekend – and into next week.

"(Temperatures) just hold us in the low 40s almost all the way through the weekend, and the rain rolls in as well, so it's not going to feel very pleasant," Gardner said.

The rain will likely keep ACC tournament watchers away from the grill and inside. Preliminary computer models suggest some areas could see nearly 2 inches of precipitation between Friday afternoon and Tuesday.

"I can remember years that people would take their TVs outside on the deck ... to enjoy the beautiful, spring-like weather tournament," Gardner said. "That will not be the case this weekend. (There'll be) nothing to distract you from watching basketball."

All in all, the Triangle is in for a long-lasting taste of cloudy, soggy winter.

"It is still winter, and we're about to switch gears and head right back in it," Gardner said. "Just had to hit on a weekend, didn't it?"