Perdue declares emergency ahead of next chilly weekend

Posted January 7, 2010 9:56 p.m. EST
Updated January 8, 2010 11:02 p.m. EST

— Gov. Bev Perdue declared a state of emergency Friday to ensure the delivery of heating fuels ahead of a weekend in which temperatures are forecast to be 20 degrees below normal.

Executive Order No. 43 allows truckers to drive more hours than usually permitted if they are delivering oil, diesel oil, kerosene, propane or liquid petroleum gas. The state of emergency will continue for 30 days or until the emergency ends.

"I want to ensure that adequate supplies of home heating and vehicle fuels are available to our citizens during this extended cold snap,” Perdue said in a statement. “Some areas of our mountains got more than 20 inches of snow recently, and extremely cold temperatures have persisted statewide.”

After dawning with temperatures in the upper 30s and low 40s in central and eastern North Carolina, Friday has already seen its warmest weather.

"Expect temperatures to continue to fall all day long," WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said. "This bitterly cold air is moving in and will stay with us all weekend."

Around noon, the temperature had fallen to 30 degrees in Raleigh. The mercury started to plummet into during the afternoon.

"The core of the cold air from Canada has broken free," WRAL meteorologist Mike Maze said late Friday.

The air would push temperatures lower overnight into the mid-teens.

"We'll barely make it above freezing all weekend," Gardner said.

Central and eastern counties will see a similar scenario Sunday: a high around 33 degrees and a low around 15 degrees.

It will be much colder in the mountains, where Boone was already sitting at 9 degrees Friday.

Snow showers and flurries could fall from Boone to Asheville through early Saturday afternoon, and temperatures won't get any higher than the mid 20s through the weekend. Wind chills could make it feel as it's below zero degrees at times.

"It's an arctic weekend, but there's a light at the end of the tunnel in the seven-day forecast," Gardner said.

In central North Carolina, temperatures could be up in the 40s on Monday and Tuesday, then push into the 50s by Wednesday.

Temperatures in the mountains could rise above freezing next week, too.