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Milder weather replaces the chill; but rain for Panthers?

A second morning of record cold weather greeted Carolinas residents Thursday, but forecasters say the worst of the current chill is ending.

Temperatures will be 20 to 25 degrees warmer by the weekend, although meteorologists say rain chances will increase over the next few days. And there is a good chance that rain will fall Monday, possibly affecting the Carolina Panthers’ game against New England.

Thursday’s unofficial low temperature in Charlotte was 21 degrees for the second straight day. And like Wednesday, the reading broke a record for the date, which had been 22 degrees, set in 1986.

Temperatures fell to even colder levels near Charlotte. At 8 a.m., it was 19 degrees in Lincolnton and Boone and 20 degrees in Taylorsville. Earlier, there were 21-degree readings in Albemarle, Hamlet, Lexington, Shelby and Wadesboro.

By mid-morning, though, temperatures had risen to around 40 degrees in much of the area.

Thursday saw highs in the mid-50s.

Increasing clouds are forecast Friday, as moisture begins moving into the region. That will put a brief cap on the warming trend, with highs again in the mid 50s.

But the warmup will resume Saturday, with a mix of clouds and sun and highs in the mid 60s. By Sunday, afternoon highs are expected to reach the upper 60s, and 70-degree readings are possible Monday.

Morning lows this weekend are predicted to be in the lower and mid-50s – warmer than Wednesday’s afternoon readings.

Rainfall chances are expected to increase along with the temperatures. A few showers are possible Saturday and again Sunday.

But meteorologists say the highest chance of showers will be Monday, as another cold front approaches. At this point, forecasters say, it is hard to say whether the rain will end in time for the Monday Night Football game at Bank of America Stadium.

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