National Weather Service forecasters say an arctic air mass will move into central North Carolina over the holiday weekend with the potential to drop temperatures into the single digits.

Barrett Smith is a meteorologist in the weather service’s Raleigh office. He says it will be the coldest Christmas in the area in at least a decade.

"Those are life-threatening-type wind chills, especially for people who may not have adequate heating in their homes, the homeless who are outside — it’s a very significant air mass that we’re going to be looking at really through the entire weekend," he says.

Smith says wind chills could reach zero or even negative numbers Saturday morning. But it will be clear over the weekend, so a white Christmas is not expected.

Those low temperatures will likely continue into next week.

Higher elevations like Boone can expect even colder conditions, forecasters predict, with highs possibly in the single digits.

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