In a week’s time, the temperature in Raleigh will have swung 115 degrees – dipping to a frigid 4 last weekend, shooting up to a near-record 72 Friday only to sink back into subzero territory for the Sunday forecast, clocking in at an expected 25 with a chance of snow on the horizon.
The weather here, much like Billy Joel, goes to extremes.
The week’s rollercoaster conditions are actually pretty normal, said ABC11 meteorologist Don “Big Weather” Schwenneker. January often offers a relief thaw for the suffering.
Schoolchildren in Raleigh walked to class in shorts Friday, having worn toboggans under their parka on Friday last. In the News & Observer’s downtown Raleigh building, humidity triggered a smoke alarm.
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But this year’s hot-cold schizophrenia has been so severe that it’s much more noticeable than typical years. Record-low temperatures last week fluctuated to a balmy Friday that nipped at the record high of 72.
“Everytime it happens it sneaks up on everybody,” said Schwenneker. “But that’s pretty dramatic.”
Before anyone gets too excited about the s-word and the flake icon popping up on iPhone forecasts, Schwenneker downplayed the snow chances.
On Wednesday – flake icon day – the forecast calls for lows of 34. Schwenneker said rain is more likely. “Snowflakes are kind of iffy,” he said.
Warm air floating up from the South tends to trigger these thaws. Raleigh lies in the borderlands between hot and cold, and the seesaw effect is especially acute.
But last week’s single-digit numbers were without precedent and harder to shrug off, Schwenneker said. When the mercury rose into the 40s on Monday, let alone 70s on Friday, a frozen Raleigh rejoiced.
The shifiting status fueled the Triangle’s weather adage: Don’t like it? Wait.