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A weather roller coaster in store for Charlotte

Get ready for a roller coaster of weather conditions over the next several days in the Charlotte region, with everything from near-record warmth to possible freezing rain.

Forecasters say we’ll go from warmth on Friday, to a big cool-down Saturday and Sunday, back to warmth Monday, and then turning colder Tuesday.

Fortunately, however, it appears as if the Charlotte region – or most of it, at least – will escape damaging accumulations of ice. Parts of Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri and Tennessee are expected to be clobbered with a damaging ice storm over the next few days.

A sprawling arctic air mass was pushing southward Thursday, taking aim at the central part of the country.

The Charlotte region is on the warm side of that air mass, with temperatures in the mid-60s Thursday. Partial clearing is forecast Friday, and forecasters say afternoon temperatures could climb into the middle 70s.

But by Saturday, a piece of the arctic air mass is forecast to push a cold front southward from Virginia into the Carolinas. That will set up a cold air damming event, in which a chilly northeast flow brings clouds and cold weather to the Charlotte region.

At the same time, low pressure is forecast to move along the cold front. That will bring rain to the region late Friday and early Saturday, with temperatures expected to fall through the 50s during the day.

By kickoff of Saturday night’s ACC Championship game at Bank of America Stadium, temperatures might fall all the way to the lower 40s.

Another low pressure system is predicted to move along the front late Saturday and Sunday, bringing another round of rain. It is not clear whether the rain will arrive before the end of the ACC title game.

But on Sunday morning, it appears temperatures will be cold enough in the Charlotte region for some freezing rain. Ice accumulations are not expected in the immediate Charlotte area but could develop along the Interstate 40 corridor.

By late Sunday night, the cold front is expected to retreat northward. That will allow temperatures to climb into the 50s overnight Sunday and into the 60s Monday.

But another cold front is forecast to sweep across the region later Monday, bringing showers and thunderstorms. Then colder air, with highs in the 40s, is expected for Tuesday.

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