Our forecast through Thursday is calling for bright, sunny skies and colder than normal temperatures. These are the days I call deceptively sunny. While sitting inside your nice warm office or home, you look outside and think how warm it looks. Then you open the door and get a blast of reality. It’s downright cold out there!
Arctic air has settled across much of the country bringing frigid temperatures with it. This time we had a dry cold front come through the Triangle, which caused the dramatic difference in temperatures without the precipitation we often see with frontal systems. Behind the front, cold air sinks to the surface and, as I covered in a previous blog post, sinking air causes high surface pressure. High pressure is associated with sunny days and clear skies at night. The dry air coming down from the Arctic latitudes keeps the atmosphere nice and crisp despite how powerful the sun’s rays can be.
With limited sunlight during the short winter days and no new system to move this cold air away until Friday, the overnights will be brutally cold by a Southerner’s standards. However, lows in the twenties are not even close to our records for low temperatures for this week. Our record for January 23rd was 8 degrees in 1977 and 7 degrees for January 24th in 1963. The coldest temperature on record for Raleigh occurred on January 21, 1985 and registered 9 degrees below zero!