The cold weather that has descended on the Triangle will remain through this week.
Temperatures dipped below freezing early Sunday morning and aren’t expected to get back into the mid-30s until Wednesday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service. But then, another blast of Arctic air is expected to sweep across the region, bringing a chance of snow to Eastern North Carolina before sending temperatures back down into the low 20s.
The precipitation will be heavier toward the coast, where it could mix with rain or sleet. Little if any snow is expected west of U.S. 1.
The mornings will be especially frigid. Temperatures are expected to dip into the low to mid teens on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings, before the cold grip begins to weaken. The high Sunday could top 40.
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The winds will, at times, make it feel even colder. On Monday, the weather service issued a “wind chill advisory” for central North Carolina, warning that a steady northerly wind of 5 to 10 mph would drop wind chill values close to zero across the Piedmont and northern coastal plain overnight. The advisory extends until 9 a.m.
The bitter cold prompted most school districts in the Triangle to delay the start of school on Tuesday morning. Wake County school officials announced Monday afternoon that classes would start two hours late on Tuesday because they’ll need extra time to get buses ready to get on the road after being idle for winter break. Chapel Hill-Carrboro and Durham, Chatham, Orange, Harnett, Granville and Lee county schools also announced two-hour delays.
The normal high temperature for the first week of January in the Triangle is about 50, according to the weather service; the normal low is about 31. But as cold as it’s going to be this week, none of the forecasted lows are expected to set any records, which are all in the single digits. In other words, it has been worse.
The cold weather is prompting the N.C. Zoo to bring its elephants, gorillas, lions and other African animals into their behind-the-scenes enclosures, where the public can’t see them. But the zoo’s North American animals will remain in their outdoor quarters, and the inside exhibits will remain open as well. To encourage people to come see them, the zoo will be offering half price admission through Jan. 6.