Weather

Triangle faces cold weekend; snow forecast uncertain for next week

Mortimer the groundhog poses for pictures after making his prediction on Groundhog Day that there would be one more cold spell in February and then spring would come early.
Mortimer the groundhog poses for pictures after making his prediction on Groundhog Day that there would be one more cold spell in February and then spring would come early. mmccloy@newsobserver.com

Forecasters were confident Friday that the thermometer will take a dive below freezing Saturday night and not resurface before Monday, but rumors of snow early next week were a different story.

“The models are all over the place,” ABC11 meteorologist Don Schwenneker said. “Yesterday, they said snow. Today, they say rain” for Tuesday and Wednesday.

Forecasters at the National Weather Service had the same opinion, saying that dueling computer models gave them little confidence beyond saying that Tuesday appears to have a 70 percent chance of precipitation.

Forecasters looking ahead four days generally have a 30 percent chance of being correct, Schwenneker noted.

Much clearer was that a cold front being whipped along by a storm predicted to dump yet more snow in the beleaguered Northeast U.S. “will blast across our region Saturday evening,” the weather service said.

Saturday was forecast to reach a high temperature of 52 degrees after 20 degrees overnight Friday, and then the bottom should fall out.

Saturday night’s predicted low was 15 degrees, followed by a Sunday high of 28 and a Sunday night low again in the mid-teens.

The forecast called for Monday to poke back above freezing, with a daytime peak of 35 degrees.

At the same time the cold air punches into the Triangle on Saturday evening, winds will be 35 mph to 45 mph for a time, possibly gusting up to 50 mph, and the resulting wind-chill temperatures will be from 5 below to 10 above zero, forecasters said.

It is unlikely to be record cold, however. Saturday’s record low reading was -2 in 1989, and Sunday’s was 6 degrees the same year.

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