Cold air is coming ... and it won’t leave soon

slyttle@charlotteobserver.comNovember 23, 2013 

Saturday’s 60-degree weather in Charlotte will seem like a balmy memory during the coming week, with the arrival of cold air that likely will hang around for quite a while.

Meteorologists say temperatures won’t get out of the 30s Sunday, and Monday morning’s lows could be in the mid-to-upper teens.

Some forecasts indicate the cold weather could persist into at least the first 10 days of December.

The front, heralding the arrival of much chillier air, pushed across the Carolinas on Saturday, but not before temperatures were able to reach seasonal levels in Charlotte. The reading at 1 p.m. was 60 degrees.

On the other side of the mountains, the cold air was arriving. Temperatures were mostly in the low-to-middle 40s in eastern Tennessee and in the upper 30s across Kentucky.

James Oh, of the National Weather Service’s office in Greer, S.C., said the Canadian air mass would start being felt Saturday night in the foothills and Piedmont.

“And on Sunday, it will feel much colder,” he said.

The Carolinas got a shot of cold air in mid-November, which lasted only two or three days. This time will be different.

“It definitely looks to be below average for the next week,” Oh said.

The next weather-maker for the Carolinas will be a storm system expected to develop Monday in the Gulf of Mexico and spread precipitation into the Southeast on Tuesday. It will remain chilly in the Charlotte region, but not chilly enough for frozen precipitation. Instead, a cold rain is forecast Tuesday and early Wednesday.

“The computer models differ on whether the storm will move through quickly or not,” Oh said. “We’ll have to wait a bit longer to get a better idea.”

That storm system Tuesday and Wednesday could wreak havoc with travel plans along the Eastern Seaboard. Thanksgiving is the biggest travel holiday of the year, and Wednesday typically is the heaviest travel day.

Once the storm system pushes northeast of the Carolinas sometime Wednesday, skies will clear but temperatures will remain chilly. The advance forecast for Thanksgiving Day is for clear skies with highs only in the low-to-mid 40s.

Lyttle: 704-358-6107; Twitter: @slyttle

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