CHARLOTTE, N.C. — It’s been nearly 200 days since Charlotte’s last freeze, but that streak is in peril as we close out the first week of November. Cold air is spilling into the Carolinas from the northeast, which could set many locations up for their first frost of the season. The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued Frost Advisories and Freeze Warnings for the virtual entirety of WCCB Charlotte viewing area Friday morning.
If you’ve lived in the Carolinas for at least winter or two, you’re no stranger to a process called cold air damming (CAD). The phenomenon occurs most often when high pressure sets up in the Northeast. High pressure flows counter-clockwise, which dumps frigid Arctic air into the Mid-Atlantic from the northeast. The denser cold air sinks and struggles to escape over the Appalachian Mountains to the west, which causes it to pool around the Carolinas. Much like water against a dam, the cold air sits in place until warmer air out of the south and west erodes it away. If southerly winds don’t arrive, however, it can lead to deep freezes across our area.
Enter stage cold air. Many locations across the board will wake up to the tune of 20s and 30s Friday morning, which will lead to widespread frost and freeze. Move your pets and plants indoors or cover them up if movement is impossible. Warmer air arrives next week, but the winter chill is here to stay for now.