Don’t let the sun and warm temperatures kicking off spring fool you.
There’s more cold weather ahead before sunshine and 70-degree temperatures prevail, according to the National Weather Service forecast office in Newport.
Temperatures Friday on the first full day of spring may approach 70, and even warmer temperatures in the middle 70s are predicted for Saturday. But don’t put away the sweaters just yet.
“It looks like we do have another cold front coming through late Saturday,” said meteorologist Bel Melendez with the weather service.
Temperatures will drop Sunday and a potential for rain will return. High temperatures will be back into the 40s early next week, according to the extended forecast. While some talk of a potential winter storm Tuesday, weather service predictions as Friday morning call for rain in the Havelock area.
It could be another couple of weeks before spring-like weather settles in, she said.
Melendez said the national climate prediction center is predicting below normal temperatures for much of the eastern half of the United States heading into the first two weeks or so of spring.
Eastern North Carolina has definitely gotten a good dose of winter this year, including three winter storms in a two-week period stretching from Jan. 29 to Feb. 11.
There have been those notable moments this winter, but monthly climate data keeps it fairly within normal range, with the exception of January, Melendez said. She said December actually was a bit warm, but by January the weather pattern change and cold air from the North Pole dropped temperatures in the area below normal.
“For the month of January we were 4 degrees below normal on average around Eastern North Carolina,” she said.
Normal high temperatures average in the low 50s and the low temperatures in the low 30s for that time of year.
February was also off to a cold start but saw warmer temperatures in the latter half of the month, which kept it within normal range. And so far, Melendez said, March weather has been fairly normal.
Normal or not, Melendez said the consensus seems to be that Eastern North Carolina is ready to say goodbye to winter.
“I would assume they are ready for spring,” she said.
Jannette Pippin is a reporter for the Jacksonville Daily News.