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Frigid temps, light freezing rain coming to Charlotte

Ryan Derrick of Derrick Construction Group spreads salt at the corner of Church and Stonewall Streets on Feb. 15 in preparation for a predicted winter weather event.
Ryan Derrick of Derrick Construction Group spreads salt at the corner of Church and Stonewall Streets on Feb. 15 in preparation for a predicted winter weather event. dlaird@charlotteobserver.com

Time to get out the parkas.

Thanks to a massive Canadian high pressure system, temperatures in the Charlotte area are expected to plummet to a frigid 18 degrees early Friday and never surpass 37 during the day, according to the latest National Weather Service forecasts.

A chance of freezing rain could hit the region early Saturday, with possible ice accumulations of .02 to .03 inches from midnight to 8 a.m., said Harry Gerapetritis, an NWS meteorologist in Greer, S.C.

That amount, however, would leave just a “light glaze” on some roads and bridges that’s expected to melt as temperatures rise to 33 or 34 degrees between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. Saturday, Gerapetritis said. Still, he said, “it’s good it happens on a day when the kids aren’t in school.”

The cold, drizzly, sprawling air mass blamed for the wintry weather was over Missouri and Illinois on Thursday and was expected to reach Virginia and West Virginia Thursday night, according to Gerapetritis.

It’s likely that light rain will fall in the Charlotte metro area early Saturday and freeze on cold surfaces, he said. Saturday’s high could reach 51 and Sunday’s 64, with a 70 percent chance of rain Sunday.

While Friday will be extremely cold, temperatures won’t come close to the record low for Dec. 16 in Charlotte of 12 degrees in 1958, or the record lowest high of 24 set in 1917, Gerapetritis said.

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067, @jmarusak

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