Cold streak to continue

Posted January 4, 2010 6:43 a.m. EST
Updated January 4, 2010 11:47 p.m. EST

— The cold weather is here to stay, at least until the beginning of next week, WRAL meteorologist Mike Maze said.

Maze said another round of Arctic air from Canada should move in this weekend, before temperatures start to warm up again.

"There are signs that after the blast coming in this weekend the temperatures will at least have a chance at returning to normal levels next week," WRAL chief meteorologist Greg Fishel said.

Monday saw highs in the mid-30s. Northwesterly breezes helped make it feel around the freezing mark all day. The overnight low is expected to be in the teens.

Through mid-week, "we just don't see much of a change" from that pattern, WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said. Sunny skies will predominate but won't warm up the region.

Too early to tell for snow

On Thursday, a slight warm-up could send the mercury all the way to the low 40s before it crashes into the mid 20s again that night.

The warm, moist air might hang around long enough to meet up with a new blast of cold air. If that happens, "we do have the potential Thursday night for a few snow flurries to fly. The computer models are back and forth on that," Gardner said.

Maze said it is “too early to tell” if the Triangle will see any snow. As of Monday afternoon, models showed a slim chance.

Fishel explains the chances for snow to fall or not in the WRAL WeatherCenter blog.

"If these trends continue, it would be difficult to get a major snow event here in the Triangle later this week," Fishel writes.

Cold weather affects students across the state

At Fuquay-Varina High School Monday, workers fixed two air handlers that circulate air through the heating system, Wake County schools spokesman Greg Thomas said. While they were broken, air circulated at a reduced rate in 15 classrooms. Students and teachers moved to heated space, but none had to leave the school.

The temperatures also caused several water pipes to crack in Fuquay-Varina.

"Part of the system is old cast iron pipes and when you get the cold weather, you get temperature differential and it cracks the old pipes," said Jay Meyers, public utilities director.

At Wakefield High School, buses wouldn't start when drivers arrived Monday morning. Mechanics got four running by 7 a.m. In Asheville and several western counties, so many buses wouldn't start that school was delayed by two hours.

Jeff Moore, a mechanic for Wake County Schools, said the frigid temperatures drained sparks out of the batteries of some buses.

Not just school buses ran into trouble on Monday. AAA Carolinas said it saw an increase in battery problems due to the weather.

Tommy Horton, of the Mission Valley 66 service station in Raleigh, said a frozen car battery could end up causing damage to the vehicle and costing the owner lots of money.

Experts say one of the easiest things to make sure a car is ready for the cold weather is to invest in an antifreeze tester.

Another tip is letting the vehicle run for a few minutes. Horton said that will allow the transmission and power steering fluids and motor oil to circulate.

With the cold snap expected to continue into the week, Wake school officials said they may bring in drivers Sunday afternoon to start the buses and make sure they run.