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This Arctic Blast means business! Plus a tricky coastal low...

You sick of it yet? Round after round after round of cold air has surged into the Southeast this winter, with no end in sight. Now, heading into another weekend - Mother Nature is doing her best to make sure you need to bundle up before enjoying those outdoor plans. This Arctic Blast means business, and is making an impact across the country.

As usual - we can blame the Jet Stream. Look at where it's shifted -- south:

So what does this mean? Well unfortunately there's no 'block' in between us and the arctic air well to the north. Now that the Jet Stream is south we're seeing a broad northwesterly flow carry this cold air all the way in from Canada down to the Carolina Coast. Just how cold is it? Well again - let's check in with those poor folks in the the Upper Midwest.

Wow... just wow. There are no words to describe these temperatures. That -46 in International Falls Friday morning is just about as cold as you'll ever see in the lower 48 of the United States. To put that in more perspective, the temperature in Wilmington Friday morning was in the mid 40's -- a full 90 degrees warmer than that -46 reading! Unbelievable. By the way, the forecast highs for Friday and Saturday are both below zero there, meaning their sub-zero temps will continue until Monday afternoon! Ouch!

Now that Friday's cold front has moved through, temperatures will drop dramatically for the weekend. We expect widespread temps in the low 20's overnight Friday and Saturday, with some isolated high 10's inland. There is one kink in the forecast for this weekend though that makes things somewhat interesting.

Heading into Saturday, a disturbance pushes through overhead. While this will not be a storm over land -- it will kick up some showers and spin up an area of low pressure over the ocean midday Saturday. Here's what it looks like on Futurecast:

You can see by the late afternoon this system is dangerously close to the shore. While some moisture will be overhead along the coast in the form of some clouds for coastal counties, our dewpoints at the surface at this time will be exceptionally low - in the teens. This is one of the reasons that we think this is just a cloud maker for us for Saturday. And that's good news! If the system were to 'backtrack' to the west on top of us the atmosphere would be plenty cold enough to mean a surprise snowfall for the Cape Fear Region.

As it stands right now, I would not jump out of my skin in surprise if somebody in the area spots a few flurries on Saturday (especially places like Bald Head Island). But for the most part, this is a non-event for us with just some clouds and COLD temperatures!

In other news, the Greenpeace vessel the "Arctic Sunrise" is visiting town this weekend. Is it a pure coincidence that our arctic air is arriving at the same time?? Just saying - if you're looking to pass along the blame for this latest arctic air maybe you can send it toward Greenpeace. (Instead of this weatherman!)

That's all for now. Have a great weekend!

- TB

By: Tim Buckley

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