Charlotte in store for milder weather

After a long stretch of gray, rainy skies and below-normal temperatures, sunshine and milder winter weather are set to return to the Charlotte area.

Friday should be all sun, with a high of 54, followed by more sun on Saturday with a high of 51, according to the National Weather Service.

Sunday will turn partly cloudy but stay seasonably mild at 55 degrees, while Martin Luther King Jr. Day has all sun in the forecast, with a high of 52.

Charlotte’s average high in January is 51 degrees and its average low 32 degrees, but temperatures have been far lower this month.

On Jan. 8, Charlotte tied a record low of 8 degrees, last matched in 1970.

The milder weather is returning thanks to changes in the jet stream, said Paul Pastelok, long-range meteorologist for AccuWeather.com.

The jet stream is setting up in a way that will keep arctic air bottled up across central and northern Canada and allow mild Pacific air to flow west to east across much of the United States, he said.

The warmup won’t mean winter is over, Pastelok said.

“We expect much colder air to expand southward and then eastward during the fourth week in the month,” he said.

Related stories from Charlotte Observer