January 17: Back To Winter Reality



After 24 straight days of above-average high temperatures in the Triangle, January has hit the reset button. Through yesterday, this has been the 5th-warmest start to “meteorological winter” (December through February) on record in the Triangle.

The other shoe was bound to drop…and it has.

Temperatures will only warm up to the 40s this afternoon, as northeasterly winds and high cloud cover combine to keep highs below-average for the first time in 2020.

The clouds will thicken overnight, but temperatures will still drop down to around 30° by early Saturday morning.

How much do we warm up on Saturday? That’s the million-dollar question…at this point I have a five-cent answer. Some of the model data indicates we’ll climb into the mid 50s, other data keeps highs in the mid 40s. I’m splitting the difference for now, with the usual pattern — warmer south and east of the Triangle, cooler to the north and west.

Regardless of where our temperatures end up, they’ll trigger two very important January words: “warm enough.” As in, warm enough for plain ol’ rain showers, with the best chance moving in by late afternoon and continuing into the evening. The North American Model’s simulation from noon Saturday through 6:00am Sunday shows the rain moving out before sunrise on Sunday.

There’s a big shot of cold air that will follow up that rain chance, but it won’t move in right away. Sunday’s high temperatures will still reach the low 50s…and then the cold air crashes in Sunday night. Monday’s and Tuesday’s highs will struggle to reach 40° — but at least it will be dry for the Martin Luther King Jr holiday on Monday.

Morning lows in the 20s will persist for most of next week, then that “warm enough” phrase comes back into play by next weekend.


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