Roller coaster of temperatures, potential winter mix, expected this weekend in southeast North Carolina

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WILMINGTON – Just when you thought it was safe to go outside in shorts and a T-shirt, old-man winter, who has been relatively absent from southeastern North Carolina for most of the season, will head toward the coast this weekend.

With it being tied for the 12th warmest winter on record going back to 1874, a blast of cold air will make its way into the Tar Heel State as part of three separate systems moving from the Midwest, according to the National Weather Service.

“A few of the models are indeed suggesting that a potential for wintry weather will exist Saturday night into Sunday for a part of the Carolinas,” said Steven Pfaff of the National Weather Service. “Most likely north of here, but still can’t entirely rule out the possibility of a wintry mix here, too, dependent on the track of low pressure off the coast. We have a history of March snow events in Wilmington dating back into the late 1800s.”

Under the current forecast model, wind and rain are expected to move in late Friday, followed by a near 20-degree drop in temperature, with sunny skies and a daytime high of 57 degrees on Saturday.

On Sunday, the wet weather rolls in again, and with it, northeast winds and a high of only 43 degrees. The nighttime low will be below the freezing point at 31 degrees.

“The ground is relatively warm, so any wintry precipitation (if it does fall this far south) will have a hard time sticking,” Pfaff added. “Any wintry precipitation initially would transition to a cold rain for Sunday. Temperatures will be a roller coaster ride at the end of the week. Normal high temperatures are in the mid 60s for this time of year.

“There are agricultural concerns as the growing season began a few weeks early, but we could use any rain to remove the first round of pollen,” Pfaff said.