Temperatures are expected to drop below freezing late this week — and if enough low pressure builds, the Triangle actually may get some light snow or a wintry mix on Friday.
Rain is expected on Tuesday night, with lows dropping to 40 degrees, but colder and drier air will follow on Wednesday, the National Weather Service in Raleigh reported Monday morning.
The coldest air will begin Wednesday night into Thursday as an area of strong high pressure moves in. The coldest air initially will be blocked by the Appalachian Mountains, and lows Thursday and Friday mornings will be in the 30s, with highs both days in the low to mid 50s, the NWS said. Rain is expected both days.
A strong cold front was expected to move into central North Carolina Tuesday night, then push offshore on Wednesday. But that cold front will be followed by even colder air late in the week, the weather service said.
The main band of rain is expected to arrive around of just before sunset on Tuesday, then move across central North Carolina Tuesday night. Up to half an inch of rain is expected, but that won’t change the moderate drought status of most of central North Carolina.
If wintry precipitation comes Friday, there will not be an early source of cold air to prepare the ground and cloud cover with keep temperatures from dropping significantly, which means no snow would accumulate even if it’s in the air, the weather service said. Based on current models, the weather service said rain is more likely than snow or wintry mix. If the models get wetter, the temperatures will be warmer, making snow even less likely.
“The best chance of a snow shower may come at the tail end of the system, as the cold air chases the moisture, but this rarely brings measurable snow for us,” according to the weather service. “Bottom line, this appears to be a real no-win situation for snow lovers with the supply of cold, dry air just not there.”