Winter is here. Brrrr.

Jan. 21, 2013 @ 05:37 PM

That sound you hear? Teeth chattering.

A little more than a week after basking in spring-like temperatures, we’re heading into the teeth of winter — and the coldest weather we’ve seen here in two years.

The high today is predicted to barely reach the mid-30s. And the low tonight and into Wednesday morning is going to hover around the high teens.

“And it’s going to even feel colder than that,” said Brandon Locklear, a meteorologist with the Raleigh office of the National Weather Service. A dry air mass and some robust winds, with gusts up to 20 miles an hour, will make it feel today like it’s in the mid-20s and make tonight feel like the mid-teens.

If you’re looking for some good news, the temperatures tonight and Wednesday morning will nevertheless be nowhere near record lows. In 1970 on this date, it was 0 degrees; on Jan. 23 in 1977, it was 8 degrees.

The mercury hasn’t dipped into the teens in this area since Jan 23, 2011, but “this kind of cold air surge really isn’t that unusual for central North Carolina,” Locklear said. “We usually see a couple of these during most winters.”

We’re seeing this one because of a cold front that’s the leading edge of an arctic air mass coming out of Canada. Over the past few days, that air mass has brought bone-chilling temperatures in the single digits to much of the Midwest.

And the air mass is likely to stay with us for some time.

Forecasters don’t expect temperatures to reach 50 — about average for this time of year — at all this week. Overnight lows, each evening, are expected to dip to freezing or below.

“It will get just a little warmer Thursday and Friday, but that upper trough of cold air is going to stay with us through the weekend probably,” Locklear said. “We’ll get another strong cold front coming through on Friday and it may not be until the early part of next week where we’ll have normal temperatures again.”

The good news: only 57 more days until spring officially begins.