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Chilly rain in Charlotte, mountain snow, then near-record cold

COLD_WET_CHARLOTTE
Abbi O'Leary - aoleary@charlotteobserver.com
People make their way through the cold rain on Elizabeth Street on the Central Piedmont Community College campus in Uptown Charlotte on March 25, 2014. Mountain rain hit Charlotte Tuesday morning with 27 degrees as the temperature low. Temperatures will hit a record low Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning. Wednesday and Thursday will be mostly sunny with more rain to follow Friday and Saturday.

Temperatures could be near record low levels Wednesday morning at daybreak across the Charlotte region, forecasters say.

In the wake of Tuesday’s snowfall that left more than 2 inches in some North Carolina mountain counties, the National Weather Service has issued a freeze warning for Wednesday morning in Mecklenburg and nearby counties.

Forecasters say temperatures will be in the mid 20s at daybreak Wednesday, threatening the March 26 record of 22 degrees, set in 1972.

A freeze watch also is posted for Wednesday night and Thursday morning, when Charlotte’s lows are expected to be in the upper 20s.

If you’re waiting for warmer weather, you’ll get your wish Thursday. Milder temperatures are forecast, and meteorologists said the more spring-like conditions will extend into next week.

A wave of low pressure crossed the Carolinas on Tuesday, bringing mostly rain to the Piedmont, althugh there were a few reports of snowflakes mixed with the rain in places like Lincolnton and Shelby.

The snow coated grassy surfaces briefly Tuesday morning in parts of Iredell, Alexander and Catawba counties, and about 2 inches accumulated in higher elevations of Caldwell, Burke, Watauga, Ashe and Avery counties. Schools were closed in several mountain counties.

Sunny skies are forecast Wednesday, but meteorologists say temperatures won’t climb much above 50 degrees in Charlotte. That is more than 15 degrees below average for this time of year.

Highs in the middle and upper 60s are predicted from Friday into the middle of next week, with a chance of showers and thunderstorms in the forecast for Friday and Saturday.

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