Warm weather – a whole week of it – coming to Charlotte

One of the coldest Marches in recent years for Charlotte came to an end Monday in sunshine and mild temperatures.

After skidding to a chilly 35 degrees at sunrise, the thermometer soared quickly into the mid-70s by Monday afternoon.

It is the start of what meteorologists say will be Charlotte’s first extended streak of mild weather in 2014.

Addressing the old March weather saying of “in like a lion, out like a lamb,” AccuWeather meteorologist Elliot Abrams said Monday, “Who cares what March came in like or is going out like? The simple fact that it is departing is wonderful in itself.”

Like last year, March was unseasonably cold in Charlotte. The temperature averaged about 47 degrees, or 4 degrees below seasonal norms. That was among the 10 coldest months of March in Charlotte history, coming in with an average temperature of 46.1 degrees.

Across the eastern half of the country, March was a miserable month, with temperatures 6 or more degrees below average in Cleveland, Buffalo, Indianapolis, Chicago and Detroit. March misery in North Carolina was punctuated by a March 6 ice storm that knocked out power to more than a quarter-million customers.

But all that will be in the rear-view mirror this week.

Forecasters expect afternoon highs Tuesday through Thursday to be near 80 degrees, with no rainfall predicted. The next chance of showers will be Friday and Saturday, when a cold front approaches. That front could bring severe weather, forecasters said.

Average highs and lows at this time of year in Charlotte are 68 and 43 degrees.

Gusty winds around a strong low pressure system off the East Coast brought a few problems to the Charlotte region Sunday. Winds gusted up to 37 mph at Charlotte Douglas International Airport, and gusts above 40 mph were recorded in the area.

Those winds might have been responsible for the tree that fell onto a triplex Sunday afternoon on Lomax Avenue, off Monroe Road. There were no injuries, but all three families were displaced.

The winds also knocked out power to several thousand Duke Energy customers across the region. Nearly all power was restored by 7 a.m. Monday.

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