After mild February, freeze expected Saturday morning in Central NC

This Raleigh tree flowered early in response to the warmest February on record. It could be in for a rough time Saturday morning, when temperatures are expected to drop into the 20s for the first time in weeks. (CBS North Carolina | Ted Strong)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Central North Carolina will drop below freezing for the first time in weeks Saturday morning, potentially damaging plants that have responded to a record-warm February with early sprouts and blooms.

The strong storms that moved through Wednesday night brought a cold front. While the rain cleared before the sun came up Thursday, wind will still be gusty at times Thursday. And it will be coming from the north, helping to usher in colder temperatures. Thursday night into Friday morning, temperatures will drop into the 30s.

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A second cold front will pass through Friday night. It isn’t expected to bring any rain, but it will further reinforce the cold air already in the region.

As a result, temperatures will drop into the 20s by early Saturday morning. It will be the first time in three weeks that the area has seen overnight lows in the 20s.

Rachel McCormick of The Garden Hut said most plants should be just fine, as long as they’re well-hydrated.

“I would pull out some covers for anything that has flowers open right now,” she said. “Tight buds should be just fine.

Saturday afternoon will have highs only in the lower 50s. A warm up is predicted to begin after that, as highs climb back into the 70s by Monday and Tuesday.

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