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Enjoy today ... then weather's going downhill

The week’s best weather is here today, and forecasters say conditions will slide downhill steadily as the week progresses.

Temperatures were near 70 degrees early Monday afternoon and are expected to climb a bit more under mostly sunny skies. It is a beautiful start for students and others enjoying vacation on the week after Easter.

It also is the warmest day until at least Sunday.

Meteorologists say a cold front will cross the area Monday night, dropping temperatures about 10 degrees Tuesday. More of the same is expected Wednesday, and then conditions really collapse Thursday.

Forecasters expect mostly sunny skies Tuesday, with highs in the lower 60s. Wednesday will begin with sunshine, but clouds are expected to increase as a storm system over the northern Gulf of Mexico begins moving toward the Carolinas. Wednesday’s highs are forecast near 60 degrees.

A surge of cold air is predicted to dive into the South this week, but meteorologists say the coldest weather at midweek will be in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana and western Tennessee.

Forecasters say rain will arrive by early Thursday afternoon in the Charlotte region and continue into Friday. Temperatures might not climb out of the upper 40s Thursday, as clouds and rain create a wedge of cold air in the Piedmont. The rain should taper off sometime Friday, say forecasters.

“Most areas are likely to receive at least a half-inch to 1 1/2 inches,” said meteorologist Alex Sosnowski, of Pennsylvania-based Accu-Weather. He said the heavier rain and flooding possibilities will be reserved for the Gulf Coast.

Temperatures should recover a bit Friday, climbing into the mid 50s.

Nice weather is predicted to return for the weekend, with mid 60s expected Saturday and near 70 degrees Sunday.

A period of prolonged warm weather -- lasting at least 7 to 10 days -- is forecast to take hold in the Carolinas next week.

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