Roller-coaster weather

Jan. 28, 2013 @ 05:50 PM

Sleet to heat. It’s that kind of week.

First there was the bulls-eye hit from snow and freezing rain last Friday. Then there was the fizzled Sunday night/Monday morning prediction of more freezing rain.

Now get ready for … well, spring.

The high temperature predicted for today: around 67 degrees.

For Wednesday: 70 or maybe more — maybe even 75.

“If you’ve lived here long enough, you know that we do have some up-and-down weather patterns,” said Scott Sharpe, a meteorologist with the Raleigh office of the National Weather Service. “We can go very easily from very cold to warm. In fact, it’s a pretty typical scenario.”

Sharpe called it “roller-coaster weather” and the roller coaster won’t be stopping soon. After the mid-70s on Wednesday, catch your breath because we’re heading downward again, with highs on Thursday and Friday in the 40-degree range.

“It’s going to be about a 30-degree drop, Wednesday to Thursday,” Sharpe said. “But after that, it will probably stay very cool for a time, at least for next weekend.”

We did, however, dodge a bit of a bullet Sunday night and Monday morning.

The weather service had issued a freezing-rain advisory for Orange and Durham counties and other areas north and northeast of the Triangle, but police and state troopers reported no ice on road surfaces.

Nevertheless, several school systems announced delayed openings with temperatures expected to drop below freezing into the upper 20s by early Monday. But warmer air coming from the southwest prevented that and kept the roads in good condition.

Causing all of the tempestuous weather is a very strong area of low pressure that’s been developing in the southern Rockies and plains states. It’s brought severe weather earlier this week to the low Mississippi River Valley and those very warm temperatures to the Deep South.

“The circulation around the system is what’s going to at first bring the warm weather,” Sharpe explained. “When that moves away, we’ll get the cold weather again.”

And forecasters earlier in the week believed there was even somewhat of a chance for another bout of wintry mix this coming Friday evening.

But it’s looking now like that’s not going to happen.

“We’re taking the possibility of winter precipitation happening Friday night out of the forecast,” Sharpe said. “It looks like it’s going to be too dry for that to happen. It’s just going to be cold, cold and dry, over the weekend.”