Right on cue, spring arrived Thursday afternoon in the Charlotte area with sunshine and mild temperatures after three days of chilly, damp weather.
But meteorologists caution Carolinas residents not to get too accustomed to the mild conditions.
Yet another in the seemingly endless surges of cold air is expected to arrive early next week, and some forecasters are even mentioning the “snow” word for the Carolinas.
After four days of gloomy weather, the sun returned Thursday and temperatures climbed into the 60s in Charlotte. It was a nice way to start spring for a city that has endured temperatures 3.5 degrees below average this month.
Spring officially began at 12:57 p.m. Eastern Daylight time.
Even warmer weather is forecast for Friday and Saturday, with highs climbing into the 70s. But trouble will be building to the north.
“It’s almost unthinkable, but it appears that a flow of air straight from the Arctic will develop again,” said Paul Pastelok of the private meteorological company Accu-Weather.
Rain and temperatures in the 50s are forecast for Sunday, and by Tuesday, some forecasts show Charlotte’s highs not getting out of the upper 30s. If that’s not enough, a storm system is expected to form in the Gulf of Mexico and move up the East Coast.
Meteorologists say it’s too early to predict the exact path of the Gulf storm and whether temperatures will be cold enough for snow in the Carolinas.
But, said Accu-Weather’s Bernie Rayno, “if you go by pattern repetition this winter, the odds favor a significant snowfall for part of the Atlantic Seaboard during the middle of next week.”
By the end of next week, the cold will retreat into the Great Lakes, where it likely could persist into April. But the Carolinas might see a pattern change to warmer conditions.
“Hopefully, next week’s blast will be the last one,” said Pat Moore of the National Weather Service office in Greer, S.C.