Freezing rain, snow, bitter cold will usher in Christmas weekend
The National Weather Service is forecasting rain, possibly freezing rain, and snow as Christmas Day approaches, although the actual holiday and Christmas Eve are expected to be clear but cold.
An arctic front will move through the area early Friday, resulting in plummeting temperatures and strong, gusty winds. Gusts of 35 to 45 mph may cause travel difficulties, downed trees, and power outages.
In addition, temperatures will be very cold behind the front from Friday through the weekend. Due to the prolonged duration of the cold temperatures, water in poorly insulated or open pipes may freeze.
WIND CHILL ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 7 PM FRIDAY TO 9 AM EST SATURDAY…
Very cold wind chills expected. Wind chills as low as 5 below zero in Alexander County and portions of northeast Georgia, piedmont North Carolina, and upstate South Carolina from 7 PM Friday to 9 AM EST Saturday. The cold wind chills could result in hypothermia if precautions are not taken.
A Wind Chill Advisory means that very cold air and strong winds will combine to generate low wind chills. This will result in frost bite and lead to hypothermia if precautions are not taken.
If you must venture outdoors, make sure you wear a hat and gloves.
The NWS forecast for Taylorsville on Christmas weekend is below.
Thursday, Dec. 22:
Showers likely, mainly before noon. Areas of fog. Otherwise, cloudy, with a high near 44. Northeast wind 5 to 7 mph becoming calm in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible.
A chance of rain showers after 1am, mixing with snow after 5am. Patchy fog. Otherwise, cloudy, with a low around 16. Light south southwest wind becoming west 9 to 14 mph in the evening. Winds could gust as high as 41 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%. Little or no snow accumulation expected.
Friday, Dec. 23:
Sunny, with a temperature falling to around 14 by 5pm. Wind chill values as low as zero. West wind around 15 mph, with gusts as high as 39 mph.
Mostly clear, with a low around 6. Wind chill values as low as -6. West wind 8 to 10 mph, with gusts as high as 28 mph.
Saturday, Dec. 24:
Sunny, with a high near 24. West wind 8 to 10 mph, with gusts as high as 23 mph.
Mostly clear, with a low around 11.
Sunny, with a high near 33.
Mostly clear, with a low around 15.
Monday, Dec. 26:
Mostly sunny, with a high near 36.
Mostly cloudy, with a low around 21.
Tuesday, Dec. 27:
Mostly sunny, with a high near 40.
Mostly clear, with a low around 20.
Wednesday, Dec. 28:
Sunny, with a high near 44.
The NWS is also warning about possible power outages and other weather-related hazards, as announced below.
A very cold arctic airmass will invade the area following a strong frontal passage Friday morning. Saturday will be the coldest day, with well below normal cold air remaining in place through at least Monday. Friday and Saturday morning behind the front will also be very windy, with an unusually high risk from wind chill impacts, including frost bite and hypothermia.
The cold weather will result in high demand for electricity across the region. Power outages may result from the heavy electrical load. Those who require electricity for heating or medical equipment should consider backup heat or electrical sources.
Take steps now to protect your property and health from the extreme cold. If you go outside, wear several layers of loose fitting, lightweight, warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. Mittens are warmer than gloves. Wear a hat and cover your mouth with a scarf. If driving, keep your gas tank near full to avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines. Check your antifreeze and windshield washer fluid levels. Be sure to carry a fully charged cell phone.
If you are home, consider allowing indoor plumbing fixtures to drip to allow water to trickle through pipes and inhibit freezing. Use caution with space heaters in order to avoid fire or injury.
If emergency generators will be used, they must be situated outdoors in well-ventilated areas to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Also, remember to check in on family, friends, and elderly neighbors who might be susceptible to the cold. Do not forget about your pets and livestock. Make sure they have a source of water that will not freeze and a warm place to take shelter from the wind and cold.
Do not attempt to walk on frozen ponds, lakes, or streams, as the ice will not be thick enough to support the weight, even of a child.
A cold wave is defined as average daily temperatures 12 degrees or more below normal mid-January average daily temperatures for 48 hours or longer. Normal mid-January average daily temperatures are, for Asheville 37, Charlotte 41, and GSP 42. By definition it follows that a cold wave is when the average daily temperature for Asheville is 25, Charlotte is 29, and GSP is 30; or less.