As 2017 comes to a close, very cold air will move in just in time for the start of the new year as cold, arctic high pressure begins to build into the eastern United States.
High pressure will be atop North Carolina Tuesday into Wednesday, keeping the Piedmont and mountains dry, but seasonably cool.
Daytime temperatures should be a bit warmer than Christmas Day thanks to increasing sunshine expected by Tuesday afternoon. Highs will, nevertheless, remain below average, with mid to upper 40s expected for the Piedmont and 30s in the mountains.
Lows Wednesday night will be cold, bottoming out to the 20s by Wednesday morning.
Wednesday will be similar to Tuesday before an area of high pressure over the upper Midwest begins building into the Great Lakes region, setting us up to see a cold air damming scenario for Thursday into early Friday.
In the meantime, as cool air begins moving in from the north, a system pushing in from the south could produce some sleet and freezing rain Thursday night into Friday. Models have, overall, started to taper back with the amount of moisture associated with this system and how far north it will reach, so chances for any precipitation across the Piedmont and mountains remain quite small.
Temperatures to end the work week will be well below average, with highs only topping off in the 30s Thursday afternoon under a cooling northeasterly wind.
A secondary system moving in just in time for New Year's Eve will have the potential to bring some wintry precipitation across the region and will precede a strong area or very cold arctic high pressure moving in early next week that will bring frigid air across the area.
Tuesday of the new year may bring daytime highs only in the 20s and low 30s!