Get ready for another wintry blast

Mar. 04, 2013 @ 05:37 PM

Mark this down and try to remember: Spring starts in exactly 15 days.

It may be hard to remember over the next 36 hours or so.

A major winter storm that’s been dropping significant snow on the Dakotas is going to drop down over the mid-Mississippi River Valley and then arrive right over us later today.

It’s going to bring some late afternoon showers and perhaps even some thunderstorms tonight. It’s going to push temperatures down into the low 40s and even the 30s.

Most of all, though, it’s going to bring some strong winds.

“That’s what we’re concerned about mostly,” said Gail Hartfield, a meteorologist with the Raleigh office of the National Weather Services. “Locally, the winds are going to be pretty gusty, starting about 4 or 5 o’clock.”

As the evening wears on and we move into Wednesday, the winds are even going to pick up.

“The storm is actually going to sweep eastward and to the north, but at the same time, we’re going to see a real ramping up of the winds,” Hartfield said. Late Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning, we could see sustained winds of around 20 miles per hour and gusts up to 35 or 40 miles per hour.

“If you have anything outdoors — like flower pots or light chairs — you should move them inside or secure them,” Hartfield advised.

The strong winds also have the possibility of bringing with them something else: the slight chance of snow.

It could happen, but Hartfield advises local residents to just take a deep breath.

“People go all kinds of crazy when anything falls that’s not liquid,” she said. “But it really doesn’t look like we’re going to get much of anything in the Triangle. Maybe just a dusting or just some freezing rain.”

The local temperatures are likely to be too warm for any real snow. But the temperatures north of the Triangle — in places like Oxford and Henderson — are likely to be a few degrees cooler and that area to the Virginia border will probably see a significant amount of snow. In southern Virginia itself, there could be up to a foot of the white stuff.  

But here? “Nothing appreciable,” Hartfield said. “No major travel problems Wednesday morning. It really doesn’t look too bad.”

And anyway, spring is only 15 days off.