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Rain, some sleet, move into Charlotte area

Temperatures and rain continued to fall Thursday afternoon, as the Charlotte region suffered through an unseasonably cold early-April day.

By mid-afternoon, the official temperature in Charlotte had dropped to 40 degrees, and readings were in the upper 30s in the foothills and the northern Piedmont. It was even colder, below freezing, in North Carolina’s mountains, where accumulating sleet and snow was being reported.

The day’s high temperature came at midnight -- 52 degrees.

The thermometer fell steadily during the day, amid periods of rain. Sleet mixed with the rain shortly before daybreak in Charlotte, and the National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory in the mountains, where the sleet was expected to be heavy enough to cause travel problems.

Pat Moore, of the National Weather Service office in Greer, S.C., said afternoon readings will be about 25 degrees below seasonal averages.

“Brrr -- it will feel like February this afternoon,” Moore said.

The cold and rain played havoc with outdoor events scheduled during a week when most area students and a number of adults are on spring break. Victims of the weather included a high school baseball tournament in Kannapolis and the season’s opening Alive After Five party in Charlotte’s uptown.

Rainfall was not particularly heavy, though. About one-third of an inch fell in Charlotte through mid-afternoon, and forecasters revised downward their earlier predictions of 1-inch rainfall across the area. Heavy thunderstorms along the Gulf of Mexico robbed the storm system of moisture in the Carolinas, trimming back the rainfall totals.

Improvement is coming, meteorologists say.

The rain is forecast to taper off to scattered showers overnight and then end sometime around daybreak Friday. A few peeks of sunshine are possible by Friday afternoon, and high temperatures are expected to rebound into the upper 50s.

Milder air will begin to take hold Saturday, with mostly sunny skies and highs in the low to mid 60s. By Sunday, highs are forecast to be in the low 70s, with mid 70s by Monday and Tuesday.

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