RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- We are getting a nice preview of what winter may feel like this year with the coldest overnight lows so far this season.
Lows dropped into the mid 20s to low 30s. A freeze warning was issued for all of central North Carolina until 9 a.m. Thursday.
This rapid dip has everyone from farmers to unsheltered outreach workers preparing for the cold.
At Eno River Farm in Hillsborough, which remains open all year, the roller coaster change in temperature is forcing them to quickly cover up summer crops.
"It could very well be a last minute call right before the end of the day where we have to rally up a bunch of staff to come and cover all these, because it's a lot of fields and lot of heavy tarp, so it definitely takes a lot of man power and time and energy in a moment where we're slowing down and not necessarily having enough staff here," general manager Mia Bennett said.
Still, the cold spell also has its purpose: The farm's leafy green vegetables thrive in the cold, so it helps them.
Other farms in the area though tell us it's simply not worth the added cost associated with protecting crops year-round and they simply opt for being seasonal farms.
Meanwhile, the cold temperatures are also prompting local outreach groups like the Durham Rescue Mission to help get unsheltered people out of the cold.
The mission told ABC11 it has a near-record number of people using its services, and if the mission runs out of space, it will shift to utilizing sleeping bags on the floor.
That increased demand is something the City of Durham is watching closely. They tell us there are still around 158 people unsheltered on average in the city, including 34 families.
The city said that number has only been going up the past few years, especially during the pandemic.
"When it gets cold everybody's at-risk. We tend to prioritize those who are most at-risk of a negative outcome of being out in below freezing temperatures, so those who are older. those with medical vulnerabilities or families with children that are younger -- under the age of 5 -- are more likely to have negative outcomes," Colin Davis said.
With the newly expanded HEART program, 911 calls for mental health can also help those who are unsheltered get in touch with resources.
City leaders said they are also preparing for January, when the next 'point in time' census will give updated information on how many people are unsheltered.
Temps will climb slightly higher Thursday afternoon, but will remain below average. Highs will be in the mid 50s.
Lows will drop to near freezing, again, Thursday night with more widespread frost. However, an east wind Thursday night should keep temperatures from getting as cold as Wednesday night.
The high shifts east for Friday and through the weekend, allowing for temperatures to move back into mid 60s in the afternoon.