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Cold wave, with snow both east and west of Charlotte

The Charlotte area’s brief flirtation with mild January weather came to a crashing end Tuesday evening when an arctic cold front pushed its way across the region.

Forecasters say the cold snap won’t be quite as extreme as earlier this month, when Charlotte registered a 6-degree morning low, but they say it will last longer.

“The really cold air will continue into next week,” said Danny Gant, of the National Weather Service office in Greer, S.C.

Meteorologists say temperatures will struggle to climb above freezing in Charlotte on Wednesday. Temperatures are forecast to climb to near 40 Thursday, before sliding back to the low 30s for Friday’s high.

In Iredell County, authorities opened a shelter at Fifth Street Shelter Ministries, and other homeless shelters across the region prepared for crowds. The temperature could fall below 15 degrees Thursday night.

City and state transportation departments, concerned that black ice might form overnight, spread brine on major roads. Meteorologists didn’t expect major icing.

But other parts of North Carolina and the East Coast had bigger problems. Winter storm warnings for heavy wind-blown snow were posted from the N.C. mountains to Canada’s Maritime provinces. More than a foot of snow was expected in New York City. And thousands of flights were canceled.

Heavy snow, strong winds and wind chill readings as low as -20 degrees were expected in the N.C. mountains.

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