DURHAM — It could give you whiplash.
Just when you were getting used to a December that felt like September and balmy temperatures that seemed like spring, here comes a hazy shade of winter.
After a couple of days of shorts and T-shirts and the mercury in the near-record mid-70s, Thursday is going to bring us a high that barely reaches 50 degrees. The low will be near freezing.
“It’s a pretty big change,” said Kathleen Carroll, a meteorologist with the Raleigh office of the National Weather Service. “It’s going to feel pretty abrupt.”
A high-pressure system off the North Carolina coast the last few days brought in a warm, moist flow over the area, Carroll said. Combined with clear skies and lots of sun, we got high temperatures nearly 20 degrees above normal for this time of year. Monday hit 74 and Tuesday we reached 72, both just a few degrees from a record for those days.
But that warm system is being pushed out of the way by a cold front from the west that’s headed this way, bringing with it cool high pressure and the possibility of some afternoon showers today. Today’s high temperature will still be above average, in the mid-60s, but after the cold front arrives, will head down quickly.
The good news is that chilly weather will be here only briefly.
A new off-shore system will start to take effect on Friday, bringing temperatures back up to the high 50s. And just in time for the weekend, expect to see temperatures back up to the high 60s, maybe even reaching 70 again.
“It’s some pretty sharp changes in a very few days,” said Carroll, “but we’re just going to have to deal with it.”