Heat wave to blanket Carolinas after subfreezing weekend temps, NWS says. What to know

Charlotte, Raleigh and Upstate South Carolina are under freeze warnings this weekend, but temperatures will change drastically in coming days, with a heat wave expected by the end of the work week, National Weather Service meteorologists said Saturday.

Keep the winter coats out for now, with overnight lows of 25 to 29 degrees possible through Monday morning in wide swaths of the Carolinas, NWS forecasters urged.

“Frost and freeze conditions will kill crops, other sensitive vegetation and possibly damage unprotected outdoor plumbing,” according to an NWS freeze warning bulletin at 10 a.m. Saturday.

Counties nearer the coast are under a freeze watch, meaning widespread damaging subfreezing temperatures could occur.

How low will it get?

Colder temps are predicted in the mountains, but because the growing season begins later there, the NWS hasn’t issued similar freeze warnings for mountain counties, meteorologist Thomas Winesett of the NWS office in Greer, South Carolina, told The Charlotte Observer on Saturday.

The Charlotte NWS forecast at noon Saturday predicted lows of 30 early Sunday, 28 early Monday, and 30 early Tuesday. Lows of 30, 27 and 28 were forecast for Rock Hill and 32, 26, and 28 for Raleigh.

Charlotte was expected to reach 58 degrees on Saturday, six degrees below the city’s average high for March 18, Winesett said. Charlotte’s average March low hovers in the low 40s, he said.

Historically, March temperatures can fluctuate widely, with some weeks unusually warm and others turning suddenly colder, he said. Such swings also occur in fall, Winesett said.

“So this time of the year, a cold air mass from the Great Plains and Canada is not completely uncharacteristic,” he said. “And then to have a warmer pattern from high pressure, warmer southerly winds from the Gulf Coast.”

Soaring temperatures expected

By the end of the work week? Bring out the sunscreen and shorts.

Highs in Charlotte are predicted to climb from 49 Sunday to 53 Monday, 63 Tuesday, 64 Wednesday, 78 Thursday and 82 Friday, according to the NWS forecast.

From Saturday’s expected high of 57 in Raleigh, the high is expected to plummet to 49 Sunday before rebounding to 53 Monday, 63 Tuesday, 65 Wednesday, 76 Thursday and 83 Friday.

Rock Hill expected a high of 58 Saturday.

The NWS forecast calls for highs of 50 Sunday, 53 Monday, 61 Tuesday, 64 Wednesday, 78 Thursday and 82 Friday. Skies should be sunny to most sunny all week, according to the forecast.