Chilly first day of spring!

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Sunday, March 20, 2016
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It's a cold start to the season

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- The first day of spring is feeling more like a winter day around central North Carolina.

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Meteorologist Steve Stewart says unsettled weather will continue Sunday as a surface storm lifts northward offshore and a large upper-level feature heads east toward the Triangle.

As that progresses eastward, any rain will be spotty and light, Stewart explained.

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"It may turn cold enough for some wet snowflakes to mix in with this rain tonight before precipitation comes to an end," Stewart said.

With winter-like temperatures and possible freeze warnings in our forecast, you need to pay special attention to your delicate plants and flowers.

"You want to be sure you wait until the last frost. But you can't predict the last frost," said Town & Country Hardware employee Claude Horton. "So probably the best thing to do is go with what's called the 'average last frost,' which in the Triangle area is April 1."

If it's too late and you've already made your purchases and planted in the ground, not to worry. That just means you'll have to cover them.

"Probably the best thing is an old bed sheet," Horton said.

Claude said you can use plastic, but that comes with a warning.

"It's kind of easy to mess up on that," Horton said. "The next day when the sun is up, especially around 9 a.m., be sure you take it off or there will be trapped heat inside there."

And don't forget about your perennials, such as daffodils and lilies. If those have started coming up, cover them too.

"Throw some leaves and pine straw, wheat straw, something like that. Anything to hold in that heat that's there," Horton advised.

In the wake of this feature, Monday will be a dry day. But despite a milder afternoon with highs in the middle 50s, a chilly breeze will make it feel considerably colder across the area.

High pressure will settle in starting on Tuesday and remain in control through at least Thursday, bringing a quick warm-up with plenty of sunshine.