While temperatures won’t be falling to record lows, the National Weather Service says the duration of the cold weather is unusual. Highs could struggle to get above freezing for the next week or longer in areas from Raleigh west.
Forecasters say there are some indications the weather with highs in the 30s and lows in the teens could last up to two weeks.
On Monday, several area schools started their day with no heat. Kids wore coats in the classrooms until heating systems got up and running.
And a couple-dozen Wake County school buses didn't start. The cold killed their batteries or froze their fuel lines.
However for people battling the cold at home, firefighters say cranking up the heat can have deadly consequences.
They say be extra careful using a kerosene or electric space heaters, because there has already been couple of house fires this season.
In addition to the cold, forecast computer models are locking in on a scenario that develops an area of low pressure in northern Gulf of Mexico and moving the low our way Thursday night into Friday. If this does occur, with the cold air in place, we could see some snow move into the area Thursday evening and Friday.
The track, strength and the amount of moisture available will all play a critical role in how much, if any, wintry precipitation we see.
A cold snap like that was last seen in January 1977. The weather service says check pipes and bring pets inside.