No snow, but cold continues

Posted March 27, 2011 9:18 a.m. EDT
Updated March 28, 2011 6:58 p.m. EDT

— The unseasonable cold will stick around for at least one more day in the Triangle. A freeze warning is effect from midnight through 8 a.m. Tuesday and the temperature could fall to about 30 degrees, according to WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner.

Snow flurries flew across parts of the Triangle Monday morning. Most of central North Carolina saw some spotty cold rain and sleet, a contrast to 60-degree temperatures that are normal for the last week in March.

Last month, WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel predicted that there would be no more measurable snow at RDU this winter or spring and offered to take a chilly dip in WRAL's fountain should he be wrong. 

It looks like he won't have to pay off that wager, Gardner said.

It has snowed this late in the season in the Triangle. Records kept at Raleigh-Durham International Airport show snow on March 28, 1947, (0.3 inches), April 11, 1989, (0.8 inches) and April 18, 1983, (1.8 inches).

As of noon Monday, a trace of snow had been reported in Hillsborough, but other recording stations, including Durham, Johnston and Wake counties only showed a trace of sleet, according to the National Weather Service.

"Snow does not have to accumulate to be 'measurable,'" Fishel said. "When snow falls and melts, the melted amount is measured, and if it is .01 inches of liquid or more, it goes down as a measurable snow event."

Fishel lost snow bet in February 2005 and had to sit in the fountain on a day when everyone else was wearing heavy coats.

Monday's high will be in the low 40s. Then, temperatures are expected to plunge overnight. Later Tuesday, clouds will give way to sunshine – but only briefly.

On Wednesday, clouds and a chance of rain return. The temperatures will become moderate – in the mid to upper 50s – though that's still a few degrees below normal.

A pattern of clouds, cool temperatures and occasional chances of rain will persist through the week.