Cold weather sweeps across North Carolina

Jan. 06, 2014 @ 05:37 PM

Cold weather is sweeping across North Carolina, prompting officials to close many schools and delay the opening of others.

The cold blast prompted officials at the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro to announce they will be closed Tuesday because of concern about the impact of the temperatures on both visitors and staff.

Workers planned to report to work normally to care for the animals and deal with any weather-related problems.

The National Weather Service said a winter storm warning was in effect in Avery, Graham, Haywood, Madison, Mitchell, Swain and Yancey counties until 6 p.m. Monday. Up to 5 inches of snow is possible near the North Carolina-Tennessee state line.

A wind chill warning was in effect in the same area from 6 p.m. Monday until noon Tuesday. Wind chills could be as low as 31 below zero Tuesday morning.

Similar conditions are expected near the North Carolina-Virginia state line, with wind chills as low as 15 below zero early Tuesday.

In central North Carolina, conditions were expected to be as much as 10 below zero.

A wind chill advisory will be in effect in eastern North Carolina from 3 a.m. until about midday Tuesday. Wind chills are expected to be about 5 below zero.

A number of schools were closed Monday and others opened about three hours later than usual.

Snow was reported in Asheville and Boone late Monday morning.

While the weather in some of the coldest in years in North Carolina, it doesn't approach the most bitter chill ever recorded. Tuesday's forecast low of 9 in Raleigh would mark the first single-digit reading since January 2000. The lowest temperature ever recorded in Raleigh is minus 9.

If the low reaches 5 in Greensboro, it would make the first time the temperature has fallen below 10 degrees since January 2005. The lowest temperature ever recorded in Greensboro is 8 degrees below zero.

Asheville has a forecast low of minus 3, while the lowest temperature ever was minus 16. A low of 18 degrees is predicted in Wilmington, where the lowest temperature on record is 0.

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