Freezing temperatures are expected to be a thing of the past starting Tuesday, but a big thaw in the Triangle may take a few days.
Sun will start to pare down ice that has plagued secondary roads, side streets and walkways in cities since the thermometer plunged below 32 degrees last week, but it will take longer to make the ice and snow go away than it took for it to arrive.
Temperatures will progressively warm throughout the week, with highs on Wednesday in the 50s and in the 60s on Thursday and Friday.
The warmup is thanks to a high pressure system allowing warm air to come into the area from Gulf states, said Shawna Cokley a meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Raleigh.
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
“It’s going to feel amazing and springlike and everyone will forget about the snow that’s laying on the ground right now,” she said.
But the Triangle is not out of the woods quite yet. Some roads were still covered with slick sheets of ice in some places Tuesday morning and may stay that way through the Wednesday morning commute. Orange County Sheriff Charles Blackwood took to Facebook on Tuesday morning, posting photos of icy roads and cars that had slid off them.
“It may sound like a broken record, but we want to stress to you the dangers which still exist on rural and secondary roads across Orange County,” Blackwood wrote. “We will do our best to let you know when conditions improve.”
Power problems appeared to be solved throughout the area. Duke Energy Progress reported one outage Tuesday morning that affected 15 customers in the Sunset Lake Road area near Holly Springs.
Weather service records show that the normal daytime high at Raleigh-Durham International Airport is about 50 degrees and the normal low is about 31.
While the warmup is welcome news, Triangle residents shouldn’t forget that it is still January and winter won’t be over for a while, meteorologist Cokley said.
In the last two years, February has been a big month for winter storms, she said.
In 2015, an ice storm in Feb. 17 turned roads into ice rinks and left at least 63,000 homes and businesses without power.
A storm in February 2014 plagued an early-afternoon rush hour, clogging streets and freeways with cars that quickly began slipping into ditches and sliding down hills as the Triangle received 3 to 8 inches of snow.
Chris Cioffi: 919-829-4802, @ReporterCioffi
Ron Gallagher: 919-829-4572, @RPGKT