Incoming Arctic blast set to make Christmas in the Carolinas one of the coldest in decades

CHARLOTTE — Christmas morning is expected to come close to the coldest one since 1983 when the low was 4 degrees.

Unfortunately, a white Christmas for the Charlotte area is not in the forecast.

An arctic front will move through the area early Friday, which will cause temperatures to plummet.

The weather system will be accompanied by strong and gusty winds.

Temperatures will be very cold from Friday through the weekend.

Rain moves in Wednesday night into Thursday.

High temperatures on Thursday in Charlotte will be in the mid-40s.

After the rain moves out Thursday, skies will clear up. Friday’s high temperature will be in the mid-30s.

Temperatures for the weekend will be the coldest on Christmas Eve.

When you wake up on Saturday, expect a low of around 10 degrees, with a wind chill value of 0. High temperatures will reach up to about 32 degrees.

On Christmas Day, expect sunny skies with highs in the mid-30s. Lows that night will dip to about 20 degrees.

We’ll keep this story updated as the weekend approaches. Check back for developments.

VIDEO: Christmas weekend forecast

Gov. Roy Cooper signs State of Emergency ahead of extreme cold temperatures in western NC

On Tuesday, Gov. Roy Cooper signed a State of Emergency in anticipation of icy conditions and extreme cold temperatures in the western part of North Carolina.

The order activates the state’s emergency operations plan, waives transportation regulations to transport fuel and critical supplies, help first responders and protects people from price gouging.

“We know that with the extremely low temperatures North Carolinians will need propane and other heating fuel to keep their families warm,” said Cooper. “While propane supplies are strong in the state, there is a limited supply of licensed commercial truck drivers, which is being further exacerbated by COVID and flu outbreaks. The State of Emergency will help ease some restrictions and allow heating fuel companies to keep up with demand.”

Besides the extreme temperatures, this bitter cold could cause power outages due to the higher demand for heating. The American Red Cross has steps you should take to stay safe during this dangerous cold weather:


  • Stay indoors and wear layers of loose fitting, lightweight warm clothes.
  • Check on relatives, neighbors, and friends, particularly if they are elderly or live alone.
  • Avoid overexertion, such as shoveling snow, pushing a vehicle or walking in deep snow.
  • Caulk and weather-strip doors and windowsills to keep cold air out. Install storm windows or cover windows with plastic from the inside to provide an extra layer of insulation to keep cold air out.
  • Make sure you have enough heating fuel on hand.
  • Protect pipes from freezing.
  • Bring your pets inside during cold winter weather. Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas and make sure they have access to non-frozen drinking water. If the animals are outside, make sure their access to food and water is not blocked by snow drifts, ice or other obstacles.

HOME FIRES AND SPACE HEATERS: Protect your home from accidental fires

  • Never use a stove or oven to heat your home. If using a fireplace, use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.
  • Place space heaters on a level, hard surface and keep anything flammable at least three feet away. Turn off space heaters and make sure fireplace embers are out before leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Use generators correctly – never operate a generator inside the home, including in the basement or garage. Don’t hook a generator up to the home’s wiring. Connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator.


The Red Cross encourages everyone to stay off the road if possible. If you must drive in snow or freezing rain, follow these tips:

  • Fill the vehicle’s gas tank, and clean the lights and windows to help with visibility.
  • Share the details of your route, departure time, and estimated arrival time with someone.
  • Don’t follow other vehicles too closely. Sudden stops are difficult on wet roadways.
  • Don’t use cruise control when driving in winter weather.
  • Avoid distractions such as your cell phone.
  • Know that ramps, bridges and overpasses will freeze before roadways.
  • Don’t use electrical components (like your headlights) unless the engine is running.


  • Use flashlights in the day — avoid using candles.
  • Don’t drive unless necessary. Traffic lights will be out and roads could be congested.
  • Turn off and unplug any appliances, equipment and electronics. When the power comes back on, surges or spikes can damage equipment. Leave one light on, so you’ll know when power is restored.
  • If a power outage is two hours or less, don’t be concerned about losing perishable foods. During a prolonged outage, keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to protect your food. Use perishable food from the refrigerator first. Then, use food from the freezer. If the power outage will continue beyond a day, prepare a cooler with ice for your freezer items. Keep food in a dry, cool spot and cover it at all times.
  • If you are using a generator, keep it dry and don’t use it in wet conditions.
  • Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning device inside a home, garage, basement or other partially enclosed area. Keep this equipment outside and away from doors, windows and vents, which could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.
  • Plug appliances directly into the generator. Never plug a generator into a wall outlet.


  • To avoid frostbite and hypothermia, be aware of the wind chill and dress appropriately.
  • Keep dry. Change wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat. Wet clothing loses much of its insulating value and transmits heat rapidly away from the body.
  • When outside, stay active to maintain body heat, take frequent breaks from the cold and avoid unnecessary exposure of any part of the body.
  • Avoid overexertion, such as shoveling heavy snow, pushing a vehicle, or walking in deep snow. The strain from the cold and the hard labor may cause a heart attack. Sweating could lead to a chill and hypothermia.
  • Drink liquids, such as warm broth or juice, but avoid caffeine and alcohol.
  • Get out of the cold immediately if signs of hypothermia or frostbite appear. These signs include shaking uncontrollably, getting extremely tired, turning very pale or getting numb fingers, toes, ears or nose.
  • To treat someone who may have hypothermia or frostbite, gently warm them by wrapping them in a blanket and giving them warm drinks and high-energy foods. Call 911 if these signs are severe.