Sunshine and mild temperatures covered the Charlotte region Tuesday afternoon, but the nice weather won’t last long.
An unpleasant change is coming for the Carolinas weather, and meteorologists say it could be a while before we have mild conditions again.
Monday’s weather was dominated by a cold air wedge and drenching evening thunderstorms which managed to keep their intensity despite encountering the layer of chilly and rather stable air that was in place at the surface. Temperatures stayed in the upper 30s and lower 40s Monday, but it has been much warmer today.
With mostly sunny skies, highs reached the middle 60s in Charlotte by mid-afternoon.
The only potential problem will be gusty west and northwest winds, which could cause a wildfire danger across the Carolinas. National Weather Service offices in the region have warned residents to be alert to the fire danger, which will be increased by low humidity levels.
“With winds gusting from 20 to 30 mph this afternoon, conditions will allow any fires to rapidly spread -- despite recent rains,” said Darin Figurskey, chief meteorologist at the Weather Service’s office in Raleigh.
The gusty winds will decrease Tuesday evening.
Average high temperatures at this time of year are in the mid 60s, and today could be the last time we see average readings for a while.
Morning clouds will give way to sun Wednesday, but cooler air will move into the Charlotte region, with highs only reaching the upper 50s. Then an even stronger cold front is expected to cross the area Wednesday night, possibly bringing a shower with it.
A freeze watch has been issued for Mecklenburg and nearby counties for Wednesday night and Thursday morning, which marks the meteorological start of the growing season in the Charlotte region. On Thursday, the first day of spring, high temperatures might not climb out of the upper 40s in Charlotte -- despite full sunshine.
It is expected to get even worse over the weekend. With cold air firmly entrenched, one or two low pressure systems are predicted to move across the eastern United States. Rain is possible Saturday and more likely later Sunday. On Sunday, some computer models indicate high temperatures in Charlotte might not escape the upper 30s.
No significant warm-up is expected next week, as weather across the eastern United States is forecast to be dominated by a “blocking” pattern. High pressure over Greenland is expected to cause a ripple in the jet stream that sends cold air into the East. That condition could continue through the first seven to 10 days of April.