First Polar Outbreak Forecast This Week

850mb temps

GFS 850mb Temperature

Are you Ready for our first Polar Outbreak of Cold Air arriving late this week?


North Carolina is no stranger to the cold, but somehow it is always the first outbreak that gets everyone’s attention. With origins over Siberia back in October, this first shot of Arctic cold has finally found a home over North America. As we move forward into Winter, we can expect to see the Polar Vortex sending cold air our way giving us better chances for wintry precipitation. On that topic, our mountains have a better shot of receiving some light snow (as we saw over the weekend) with that cold NW flow. Thursday night into Friday, High pressure will dry out the atmosphere and I would not be surprised to see a Piedmont snow flurry as the cold air moves in.

The bigger news will be the season’s introduction to Wind Chill. With over night temps in the teens and twenties Thursday night, winds gusting to 20 mph will give us wind chill values in the negative digits in the mountains and single digits to low teens in the Piedmont. Conservatively, we show mid teens for Wind Chill here.

winchill values

Wind Chill Values for Friday Morning.

lowtemps friday

Low Temps Friday Morning

Please reference this Chart for the future and it can also be found here with more information.

Wind Chill Chart - NOAA

Wind Chill Chart – NOAA


A look at temps leading up to Christmas show a little warming trend, but then heading back down towards the end of the period. Keep in mind that this is an ensemble estimate and NOT a FORECAST but still good to know. Shown here are samples from Asheville, Greensboro, Charlotte, and Wilmington.

GEFS temps

GEFS Ensemble Forecast through Dec 20.


Lastly, DO NOT FORGET YOUR PETS! If it’s too cold for you to be outside, it’s also too cold for your pets. Make sure to provide a warm, dry place for any animals that typically stay outdoors.

Pets and Cold Weather

Please bring pets indoors if possible to keep them warm and safe.

Pet Safety in the Winter

  • If possible, bring your pets inside during cold winter weather. Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas and make sure they have access to non-frozen drinking water.
  • If the animals are outside, make sure their access to food and water is not blocked by snow drifts, ice or other obstacles.
 The following tips on winter pet safety are provided by the Humane Society of the United States:
  • If pets cannot come indoors, make sure they are protected by a dry, draft-free enclosure large enough to allow them to sit and lie down, but small enough to hold in the pet’s body heat. Raise the floor a few inches off the ground and cover it with cedar shavings or straw. Turn the enclosure away from the wind and cover the doorway with waterproof burlap or heavy plastic.
  • Salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice can irritate a pet’s paws. Wipe their paws with a damp towel before your pet licks them and irritates their mouth.
  • Antifreeze is a deadly poison. Wipe up spills and store antifreeze out of reach.

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