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Thursday morning could bring record chill

Meteorologists say the record-shattering arctic blast that brought snow and bitter cold to the Charlotte region will produce another very chilly morning Thursday before relenting.

They promise temperatures in the upper 60s by late next weekend, although the warmer weather will come with a threat of rain for the Carolina Panthers’ Monday night home game against the New England Patriots.

Wednesday morning’s low temperature of 21 degrees in Charlotte smashed a record for the date and was the coldest ever for this early in November. Some meteorologists say Charlotte’s low Thursday morning could be in the upper teens, although the official National Weather Service forecast is for a record-tying 22 degrees.

1st Nov. snow since 2006

The cold air arrived behind a gusty front that brought a rare November snowfall to parts of the area. Precipitation fell mostly as rain west of Charlotte, but as the front pushed east of the city and temperatures fell in the late-evening hours, it was cold enough for snow.

The National Weather Service office in Charlotte recorded a trace. That apparently was the city’s first November snow since Nov. 21, 2006. To the southeast of the city, more accumulated. There were numerous social media reports of snow covering grassy areas in Mint Hill, Matthews, Ballantyne and western Union County.

Jeff Atkinson, a spokesman for Wingate University east of Monroe, said, “There was enough snow for students to make a snowman.”

Doug Outlaw of the Weather Service’s office in Greer, S.C., said snow was visible on satellite photos Wednesday morning. “There was up to 1 inch in some areas southeast of Charlotte,” he said.

Resorts rejoice; others don’t

All of this was splendid news for ski resort operators in the North Carolina. mountains, and Sugar Mountain Ski Resort opened two slopes Wednesday.

“It feels terrific to get the winter season started,” said Gunther Jochl, owner and president of the resort. “A mid-November opening is typical for Sugar Mountain.”

The resort started around Halloween last year, thanks to heavy snow that fell on the westside of Super Storm Sandy.

The arrival of the cold air was startling to some. Charlotte-area residents who walked around in shirtsleeves Tuesday afternoon, with temperatures reaching 67 degrees at 1 p.m., found themselves hunting for their winter coats hours later. Wednesday afternoon’s highs were only in the mid-40s in Charlotte.

Temperatures on Wednesday morning plummeted to 10 degrees near Grandfather Mountain and to 13 degrees in Hendersonville. It was 19 degrees in Lincolnton at 6 a.m. Those readings are about 20 to 25 degrees below seasonal averages, meteorologists say.

After Thursday morning’s chill, the weather will relent. Highs are expected to reach the mid-50s in Charlotte, climbing a few degrees every day into the weekend.

Lyttle: 704-358-6107; Twitter: @slyttle
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