The second-coldest morning of a frigid January caused water lines to break and forced school systems across the Charlotte region to open hours late Friday.
The unofficial low in Charlotte on Friday morning was 10 degrees, which missed the day’s record of 7 but was colder than any morning in several years except for the 6-degree reading on Jan. 7. Temperatures fell to 6 degrees Friday morning in Lincolnton and Statesville, and much of the North Carolina mountains shivered in below-zero weather.
Forecasters say we won’t reach the freezing mark today, and they warn that another blast of equally cold air will arrive early next week.
The frigid temps means local officials are reopening a warming center in uptown Charlotte. The center will be open from 4:30 p.m. Friday until noon Saturday at the Mecklenburg County Homeless Resource Center at 618 N. College Street. The American Red Cross will provide snacks, water and coffee but beds and cots will not be provided.
Charlotte city crews were dealing with two water line breaks at mid-morning Friday. A ruptured line on Queens Road near Granville Road had coated the outbound lanes with a glaze of ice. Another water line break on Central Avenue near Chatham Avenue forced authorities to close one inbound lane which had frozen over.
While the Carolinas shivered, residents of southern Texas and Louisiana awakened Friday to snow and sleet. Winter storm warnings were in effect for portions of both states, with ice and sleet accumulating near New Orleans and in Houston. The strong high pressure system responsible for the Carolinas’ chill is expected to push the storm system across the Gulf of Mexico and prevent it from affecting the Charlotte area.
Meanwhile, the threat of cold weather caused the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and many other area systems to open on a delayed basis Friday.
Temperatures were in single digits at 7 and 8 a.m. across much of the region, and school officials said they didn’t want students walking to school or waiting for buses in those temperatures. In addition, officials said, they were concerned about possible problems getting school buses started. No problems were reported by CMS with its fleet, however.
Wind chill advisories were in effect for much of the area.
The delayed opening for CMS marks the third time this month that school officials opted for a late start due to cold weather.
After Friday’s below-freezing daytime temperatures, another frigid night is expected, with Saturday morning lows around 14 degrees in Charlotte.
But the pipeline of arctic air will be partially cut off this weekend. Saturday is expected to start with cloudy skies, but sunshine is forecast to return by afternoon and temperatures are predicted to climb into the mid 40s.
Sunday and mid 40s also is expected for Sunday, and a high near 50 degrees for Monday.
But then another arctic front will sweep across the Carolinas, say forecasters. That means highs in the 30s and lows in the teens again Wednesday and Thursday of next week.
Here are some of the unofficial low temperatures Friday morning across the region:
10 ... Charlotte
-16 ... Mount Mitchell
-13 ... cell tower at 4,000 feet near West Jefferson
-2 ... Boone
1 ... Marion
6 ... Lincolnton, Statesville
7 ... Taylorsville
8 ... Hickory, Morganton, Rutherfordton, Salisbury
9 ... Shelby
10 ... Concord
12 ... Albemarle, Gastonia, Rock Hill
13 ... Monroe
14 ... Chesterfield (S.C.), Lancaster
15 ... Wadesboro
16 ... Rockingham
21 ... Myrtle Beach (S.C.), Southport