A very cold winter snap might not be far off for the Carolinas

A very cold winter snap might not be far off for the Carolinas
(Photo courtesy Ellen Devenny)

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Looking at the weather map this morning, there's a weak frontal system back to our west that will bring a chance for a little light rain later today and tonight. So, while there will be some sunshine around for the first part of the day, clouds will be on the increase again as that frontal system heads our way. Before any rain comes to town, we'll make it back to a seasonal 50° reading this afternoon.

Behind the front, there's no real cold air to be had, so Friday looks good with partly to mostly sunny skies and mild afternoon temperatures close to 60°.

Unfortunately, the nice weather Friday won’t linger into the holiday weekend.

We should start dry on Saturday before the rain chance ramps up as the day unfolds. A period of potentially heavy rain will arrive during the evening and last through the night before moving out on Sunday. At this point, a general forecast of one inch of weekend rain seems like a reasonable call, so there's no real concern for flooding.

The air behind Sunday's front is shaping up to be very cold, so there's an excellent chance that lingering moisture Sunday will get rung out in the form of snow over the mountains.

As for temperatures outside of the mountains, they won’t be too bad over the weekend. Despite the clouds and wet weather, highs will be in the 50s both Saturday and Sunday before the coldest air of the season arrives for the start of the week. Lows will fall into the teens and lower 20s Sunday night and highs on MLK Day won't make it much out of the 30s despite plenty of sunshine Monday.

Long-range forecast for the general pattern for the last week of January.
Long-range forecast for the general pattern for the last week of January.

For those interested in the extended, long-range forecast, please note the maps above. They depict the general pattern for the last week of January.

While we'll be quite cold as we close out the upcoming holiday weekend, by the middle part of next week we'll be right back into the 50s, which is a little above average for the third week of January (traditionally the coldest of week of the year).

Beyond that time frame, it appears as if a major trough will be carved out across the eastern two-thirds of the nation as we close out the month of January. Translation: well-below average cold temperatures (surely the coldest air of the winter season).

And unlike this little mini-cold wave early next week, this pattern could hold for a while. So, for those patiently waiting for a real cold winter snap, it may not be very far off.

As for precipitation, a continuation of above-average storminess seems like a reasonable call. The only question might be if any developing storm systems can marry up with cold air resulting in something other than rain?

Stay tuned!

Hope you have a terrific Thursday!

Meteorologist Al Conklin

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