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Frost in Charlotte, snow in mountains

The first real blast of cold air this season is arriving in the Carolinas on Wednesday, with another and stronger shot of chilly air scheduled for Friday.

It will mean patchy frost tonight in the Charlotte region, frost and a hard freeze on Friday and Saturday nights, and even some mountain snow Wednesday and Friday.

Snow began falling Wednesday morning in the higher elevations of North Carolina’s mountains.

By this weekend, the growing season will have ended across the Charlotte region.

A dip in the jet stream is allowing cold Canadian high pressure to build southward across much of the eastern United States. The first shot of the cold air is funneling into the Carolinas on Wednesday morning.

Skies are expected to become sunny during the day, with breezy conditions. The cold air won’t arrive in the immediate Charlotte area until this evening, so afternoon highs will reach the middle 60s.

It will be chillier in the mountains, forecasters say, with rain showers giving way to snow by midday above 5,000 feet. Snow levels are expected to drop to 3,500 feet by late afternoon, with possible a half-inch of snow accumulating in the higher mountains.

There were numerous reports at mid-morning Wednesday of snow falling in the mountains. Cameras from Beech Mountain showed large flakes falling about 10 a.m. There also was snow visible on cameras at Snowshoe Mountain in West Virginia.

A frost advisory is in effect Wednesday night and Thursday morning in the Charlotte region, with temperatures expected to fall to the mid and upper 30s.

Thursday will be cooler, with highs around 60 in Charlotte despite full sun.

Then a second cold front arrives Thursday night. That front could bring another round of snow to the mountains.

But, says Justin Lane of the National Weather Service office in Greer, S.C., “The larger story will be the cold air.”

The high Friday in Charlotte will only be in the mid 50s, and fans attending high school football games Friday evening will have temperatures in the upper 30s by the end of the games.

Significant frost is likely Saturday morning, when lows reach the upper 20s in parts of the Charlotte area.

A gradual warming trend is expected to begin Sunday, and highs will be approaching 70 degrees again by next Tuesday and Wednesday.

Lyttle: 704-358-6107;

Twitter: @slyttle
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