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Chilly, wet weekend in store for Charlotte region

A chilly, wet weekend is forecast for the Charlotte region, and like other residents of the area, first-grade teachers at Crown Point Elementary School in Matthews weren’t sure Friday whether they’re happy or not.

Forecasters say high temperatures Saturday won’t get out of the 60s in Charlotte, likely breaking a record for the coolest high temperature on Aug. 17. The cool weather will be accompanied by steady rain, possibly 1 or 2 inches of it.

“I like the temperatures but not the rain,” said Amber Pinkert during her lunch break. “Yesterday (Thursday) was perfect. But the rain isn’t what I wanted. I wanted to do something fun this weekend.”

Most public school teachers in North Carolina return to the classroom officially Monday, although many were working already this week. That makes this weekend their last chance for outdoor activities before their school year begins.

“I was just complaining about it,” said Sakina Roseboro. “I was looking forward to doing something outdoors.”

The unseasonably cool weather puts Charlotte-area residents in a meteorological pickle. Many people enjoy the respite from typical high temperatures in the upper 80s and low 90s. Afternoon highs Thursday were only in the mid-70s, and temperatures hovered in the mid-60s Friday afternoon.

But the cool weather is not what others – those planning swimming or boating outings, for example – would have ordered. And the rain will make things worse, the Crown Point teachers said.

“I don’t feel as if we had many sunny days this summer,” said Judy Clark. “It seemed as if it rained a lot.”

Clark, of course, is correct. Many locations in the Charlotte region got 12 to 18 inches of rain in June and July, far above seasonal averages.

National Weather Service meteorologist Chris Horne put the weekend forecast in perspective. “If you had outdoor plans, well ... it’s going to be pretty wet,” he said.

Horne said moisture from a tropical low pressure system in the Gulf of Mexico is expected to be carried northward into the Carolinas on Saturday.

“The rain will be pretty steady, and it could be rather heavy at times,” he said.

Meanwhile, a condition known as cold air damming – when chilly air becomes wedged in the Piedmont, pushed inland against the mountains by an easterly breeze – will keep temperatures far below average. The record for lowest maximum August 17 temperature in Charlotte is 71, set in 1972. Forecasters don’t expect the Queen City to get that warm Saturday.

Some relief is forecast for Sunday. Horne said the overall steering flow in the atmosphere will come from the west, and that will tend to dry things a bit and gradually end the cold air damming. Temperatures could reach the upper 70s, but Horne warned, “There still could be some scattered showers around.”

Crown Point Elementary’s Clark said the unusual nature of this weekend’s weather bothers her.

“I want things structured,” she said. “Hot in August, then cooling off in September. This is not good for a structured person like me.”

Lyttle: 704-358-6107 Twitter: @slyttle
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