Get ready for spring — in January

Jan. 10, 2013 @ 04:48 PM

This weekend is probably the reason why so many moved down here from the frigid north.
This is probably why we put up with those skin-broiling, lung-searing weekends in July.
In other words, welcome to spring in January.
That’s right, the high temperatures Saturday and Sunday will be in the balmy 70s — and could even break records.
“We’re getting some really good, warm air coming up from the Gulf of Mexico,” said Kathleen Carroll, a meteorologist with the Raleigh office of the National Weather Service.
Sometime later today, the warm air mass — which brought temperatures into the 80s along the gulf earlier this week — will push out an arctic air mass that has been “dammed” up against the Appalachian mountains.
“It’s tough to gauge exactly when that cold air mass will erode away,” Carroll said, “but when it does, we’re going to be getting some very warm weather.”
Warm weather in January in this area, she explained, is not unusual, “but this is pretty abnormal and we will be approaching those temperature records.”
The high forecast for Saturday is 72 degrees; for Sunday, it’s 73. The record high temperature for Jan. 12 is 76 — set way back in 1890. For the 13th, the record high is 78, set more recently in 2005.
“We could threaten those marks this weekend,” Carroll said.
Record-setting or not, the high temperatures will be more than 20 degrees above normal for this time of year, when we’re usually lucky to see the mercury inch over the 50-degree mark.
In fact, the over-night low temperatures for the weekend will be in the high 50s, almost 10 degrees warmer than the average highs.
The good news is that the unseasonably warm weather should last at least through Monday. But increasing cloudiness and a good chance of showers should bring the bad news Monday night or early Tuesday morning: temperatures sliding back down to what’s more normal for this time of year.
“We’ve got a pretty good chance of some arctic-like temperatures by the end of new week,” Carroll said. “So enjoy the warm weather while you can.”