Thursday, March 29, 2007

More Records Set Wednesday

Record high temperatures were set again Wednesday afternoon in the Triangle and the Triad. The high of 86 at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport broke the old record of 84 set in 1945. The high of 85 at the Piedmont Triad International Airport broke the old record of 82 set in 1985.

Here's a look at other high temperatures from around the region on Wednesday --
  • Fort Bragg: 87
  • Goldsboro: 87
  • Fayetteville: 86
  • Southern Pines: 86
  • Chapel Hill: 85
  • Lumberton: 85
  • Rocky Mount-Wilson: 85
  • Asheboro: 84
  • Burlington: 84
  • Erwin: 84
  • Louisburg: 84
  • Winston-Salem: 83
  • Mount Airy: 81

Wednesday afternoon also brought a round of severe thunderstorms north of the Triangle. In the News 14 Carolina viewing area, Granville County was the hardest hit. Flash flooding and hail up to the size of quarters was reported in Oxford. Elsewhere, near baseball sized hail was reported in Rocky Mount. If you have photos of Wednesday's severe weather, you can share them with us by e-mailing

Check out some of the pictures we have received in the blog post below.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Hail in Oxford

Severe storms developed Wednesday afternoon north of the Triangle. One of the stronger storms moved over Oxford in Granville County. A viewer, Amanda Vaughan, in Oxford sent us these photos of hail covering the ground in her neighborhood.

If you have weather photos or storm reports to share with us, send us an e-mail at

Strong Storms a Possibility Wednesday Afternoon and Evening

The southern and central Plains of the United States could be in for a rough afternoon and evening of severe weather Wednesday, but another system could also produce a few strong storms here in North Carolina. The Storm Prediction Center ( has placed much of North Carolina under a slight risk for severe weather.
As a "back door" cold front moves into the state this afternoon, we expect scattered showers and storms to develop. The greatest threat from the strongest storms will be large hail. We're closely watching StormTracker Doppler radar and will have Weather on the Ones updates every 10 minutes through the afternoon and evening. If severe weather occurs in your neighborhood, you can send storm reports and pictures to the Weather on the Ones Forecast Center by e-mailing

23 Years Ago: Carolina's Outbreak

March 28, 1984 is a date that I personally will never forget. It is the date of one of the most devastating severe weather outbreaks in the Carolinas in recent times. Twenty-two tornadoes were reported that day in South and North Carolina. One of the first tornadoes of the day occurred around 4:45pm in my hometown of Newberry, South Carolina. The scene in downtown Newberry was much like a war zone. Several businesses and one church were totally destroyed. I was only a young kid when I saw this disturction, but I knew I wanted to become a meteorologist to warn people in the future of any tornadoes that may strike.

One person was killed in Newberry, South Carolina on March 28, 1984. That would not be the only death that day, as a total of 57 people were killed across the Carolinas. Forty-two of those deaths were in North Carolina. An estimated 800 people in the Carolinas were injured.

A lot has changed in weather forecasting in the last twenty-three years. We now have a network of Doppler radars that can provide advanced warnings of developing severe thunderstorms and tornadoes. Thanks to efforts by the National Weather Service and media outlets, the public is better informed on what to do in the event of a tornado. If something like the Carolina's Outbreak of 1984 were to happen again, hopefully the number of fatalities and injuries would be much less.

While widespread severe outbreaks like this one in 1984 are rare in the Carolinas, it serves as a reminder that strong tornadoes can occur here. Do you know where you and your family would go for safety if a tornado were headed for your home or business?

You can read more about the March 28, 1984 Carolinas Outbreak through the following links --

More Records Broken Tuesday

Tuesday afternoon's high of 87 broke another record at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport. The old record for March 27 was 86 set in 1949. A record was also set in Greensboro at the Piedmont Triad International Airport. Yesterday's high of 85 broke the Triad's old record of 84 set in 1950.

Here's a look at other high temperatures from Tuesday --
  • Goldsboro: 86
  • Burlington: 85
  • Chapel Hill: 85
  • Fayetteville: 85
  • Henderson-Oxford: 84
  • Rocky Mount-Wilson: 84
  • Southern Pines: 84
  • Lumberton: 83
  • Winston-Salem: 83
  • Asheboro: 82
  • Mount Airy: 82

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Another Record Set Saturday

Saturday's high of 86 at the Raleigh-Durham Airport set a new record for the second straight day. The old record for March 24 was 81 set in 1978.

Here's a look at other high temperatures from selected locations Saturday --

  • Fort Bragg: 86
  • Goldsboro: 86
  • Southern Pines: 86
  • Burlington: 85
  • Fayetteville: 85
  • Chapel Hill: 84
  • Louisburg: 84
  • Lumberton: 84
  • Rocky Mount-Wilson: 84
  • Greensboro: 83
  • Winston-Salem: 83
  • Asheboro: 82
  • Henderson-Oxford: 81
  • Mount Airy: 79

Record Set on Friday

Friday's high 83 at the Raleigh-Durham Airport broke the old record of 81 set in 1991.

Here' s a look at other high temperatures Friday from selected locations --
  • Burlington: 82
  • Goldsboro: 82
  • Chapel Hill: 81
  • Fayetteville: 81
  • Greensboro: 81
  • Louisburg: 81
  • Rocky Mount-Wilson: 81
  • Southern Pines: 81
  • Winston-Salem: 81
  • Lumberton: 80
  • Asheboro: 79
  • Henderson-Oxford: 79
  • Mount Airy: 79

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Dry Conditions

This time last year we were talking about drought conditions across North Carolina. Heavy rains from Tropical Storm Alberto along with other rains in the late summer and fall helped to bring relief to the "moderate drought" that had developed over portions of the state. However, it appears we maybe drifting back to a dry pattern, at least for now.
The North Carolina drought monitor released this week now shows much of the state has "abnormally dry" conditions. This is represented by the yellow shading on the above map. The darker shading in western North Carolina represents a "moderate drought" in the mountains.

Here's a look at year to date rainfall deficits as of Thursday morning for selected locations --
  • Lumberton: -7.00"
  • Wilmington: -3.16"
  • Raleigh-Durham: -2.17"
  • Asheville: -2.11"
  • Greensboro: -1.10"
  • Charlotte: -0.19"
These rainfall deficits are likely to grow over the next several days as our dry weather will continue for at least the next five to seven days. As we mentioned in yesterday's blog post, the Climate Predictions Center's long range forecast calls for near normal precipitation over the upcoming spring months.

For more information on the drought monitor for North Carolina, visit

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Spring Outlook

The first full day of spring isn't quite "spring-like" with cloudy skies and temperatures in the 50s. Warmer weather is on the way for the first full weekend of spring, but what can we expect through the entire spring season?

NOAA's Climate Prediction Center recently released it's long range forecast for Spring 2007. Their outlook calls for warmer than normal weather for much of the country, but near normal temperatures here in North Carolina along with near normal precipitation.

The graphics below provided by NOAA outlook the latest outlook for April through June across the United States --

Read more about this outlook by clicking to the following press release --

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Friday Rain Totals

  • Winston-Salem: 2.32"
  • Raleigh-Durham: 2.14"
  • Fort Bragg: 2.01"
  • Clayton: 1.85"
  • Reidsville: 1.74"
  • Chapel Hill: 1.64"
  • Erwin: 1.61"
  • Greensboro: 1.53"
  • Burlington: 1.42"
  • Mt. Airy: 1.28"
  • Fayetteville: 1.25"
  • Rocky Mount-Wilson: 1.04"
  • Lexington: 0.66"
  • Asheboro: 0.64"
  • Goldsboro: 0.53"
  • Lumberton: 0.14"

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Changes Ahead...

Don't get too used to this week's warm weather. Rain and cooler temperatures are on the way for the end of the week.

Highs soared to near 80 across much of the region on Wednesday. Here's a look at some selected high temperatures across central North Carolina --
  • Burlington: 82
  • Asheboro: 81
  • Fayetteville: 81
  • Goldsboro: 81
  • Greensboro: 81
  • Raleigh-Durham: 81
  • Rocky Mount-Wilson: 81
  • Winston-Salem: 81
  • Smithfield: 80
  • Southern Pines: 81
  • Chapel Hill: 80
  • Lumberton: 80
  • Erwin: 79
  • Henderson-Oxford: 79
  • Mount Airy: 77

Temperatures should reach near Wednesday's highs Thursday, but this is the last of a string of warm days at least for a little while. We are watching a cold front to our north and a low pressure system along the Gulf coast that will bring our changing weather over the next 24 hours.

We should begin to see a few rain showers Thursday evening, but look for the rain to pick up overnight into Friday morning as that cold front and low pressure move across North Carolina.

We are likely to see beneficial rain from this storm system. According to rainfall data for the Raleigh-Durham Airport, the Triangle is more than 3 inches behind in rain for the year. Most computer models suggest we could have anywhere between one and two inches of rain late Thursday night and Friday.

Temperatures will drop through the day Friday. We'll more than likely have our highs in the low 60s early Friday morning. Temperatures will drop to the upper 40s by Friday afternoon as the rain comes to an end. Lows should then drop to the low 30s for Saturday morning.

The weekend forecast will remain dry, but it will be chilly for Saint Patrick's Day. Highs on Saturday may only top out near 50.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Severe Weather Awareness Week: Tornado Drill

School kids all across North Carolina today practiced what they would do if their school was in the path of a tornado. Today's statewide tornado drill took place around 9:15am and was all part of Severe Weather Awareness Week. While our kids now know what to do during a Tornado Warning at school, do you what to do if a Tornado Warning is issued and you were at home?

We've all heard it so may times that it seems almost like common sense -- seek shelter on the lowest floor of your home away from windows. A basement, interior hallway, closet or windowless bathroom are the safest bets. Thanks to public awareness and educational initiatives from the National Weather Service, most of us know those safety rules. However, have you really designated the place in your house where you will go when a Tornado Warning is issued?

Take a few minutes with the family tonight and pick out that place where everyone will go in the event of severe weather. You may only have a few moments warning before the next storm strikes. Wouldn't you rather use those moments actually getting into your designated space instead of wasting precious time figuring out where you will go?

Read more about today's tornado drill and tornado safety by clicking the following link from the National Weather Service --

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Ups and Downs of March

March certainly can bring wild swings in the weather here in central North Carolina. Take a look at past weather records and you'll find big weather events ranging from major winter storms to tornado outbreaks in North Carolina during the month of March.

While we don't expect anything like a winter storm or a major severe weather outbreak this week, we do look for some ups and downs -- most of those will come from the change in temperature.

After a warm weekend with highs near 70, Monday morning will start with lows in the mid 30s. The cool weather won't stick around for long though. Afternoon temperatures will reach the mid 60s by Monday afternoon. Tuesday should bring highs in the mid 70s, and Wednesday's highs may soar to the upper 70s to close to 80!

If Tuesday and Wednesday's warm weather get you in the mood for spring planting, you may won't to hold back for just a while. Cooler air will move in for the end of the week and next weekend. Lows may drop to near freezing by next Saturday or Sunday morning. The average last freeze in our region is in early April, so it's not time for spring planting just yet.

Stay with News 14 Carolina through the week as we fine tune our forecast for the end of the week. Count on us for Weather on the Ones updates every 10 minutes!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

What's the Future of Hurricane Forecasting?

The National Weather Service and other federal agencies are in the process of mapping out the future of hurricane forecasting. Read more from this NOAA press release --

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Warm and Breezy Here Today; Much Cooler to the North

While we enjoy partly cloudy skies with temperatures in the mid to upper 60s this afternoon, our neighbors to the north aren't enjoying their weather quite as much...

Above is the scene around Washington, DC. That image was taken around midday Wednesday from a National Park Service webcam. Our nation's capital has reported snow showers at times today with temperatures in the 30s. Farther to the north, temperatures are in the 20s all day in New York City. I think I'll take the 60s here in North Carolina over highs in the 20s or 30s anyday!

While our weather is comfortable here this afternoon, we are still closely monitoring the weather conditions due to an increased fire danger. Low humidities and gusty southwest winds would allow any fire that starts to spread rapidly. Outdoor burning should be avoided today.

Looking ahead to the end of the week, some of that cooler air that is to our north will slip our way for Thursday and Friday. Thankfully, we won't see highs in the 20s and 30s, but we will notice cooler conditions. Highs in the 50s are in the forecast for Thursday and Friday. We should return to the 60s over the weekend.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Monday's Fire Danger

Monday's weather conditions could lead to an increased fire danger across central North Carolina. The combination of dry conditions and windy weather could allow any fire to spread rapidly.

Relatively humidity levels are forecast to drop to 15% to 20% in the afternoon. At the same time, the wind will pick up. A west wind at 15 to 20mph with higher gusts is forecast.

The National Weather Service asks everyone to make sure any fires from this weekend are completely out so that there will be no flare ups. All outdoor burning is strongly discouraged Monday.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Lunar Eclipse -- Saturday Night

A total eclipse of the moon will be visible this Saturday evening in central North Carolina. The total eclipse will begin at 5:44pm and will end at 6:58pm. For the best view, look to the east this evening. This will put the sunset at your back, and you can look for the maximum eclipse at 6:21pm.

For more information, click to --

Enterprise Storm Survey

A preliminary survey conducted by the National Weather Service in Tallahassee, Florida has determined the Coffee County tornado which leveled the town of Enterprise, Alabama is estimated as a EF3.

Here is what the survey team noted...

*** 9 fatal, 50 inj *** 8 killed in school when concrete wall collapsed in hallway. Football stadium completely destroyed. Cars overturned.

Dowtown hit hard with damage at Dixie Drive and College Street. SR27, SR88, SR134 impassible due to downed utility lines. Tornado path approx. 200 yards wide and 10 miles long. Info based on storm survey by WCM on 3/2/07. Rated EF3 on new enhanced Fujita scale.

If you are unclear why tornadoes are now classified with an EF-scale instead of the previously used F-scale you can learn more about it here. -----> Enhanced Fujita Scale

Friday, March 02, 2007

Calmer Weather This Weekend

With the passage of a cold front the threat for stormy weather has ended in North Carolina. Cooler, drier air will begin to slide in to the Tar Heel State this afternoon and allow for windy conditions. This weekend is shaping up to be pleasant, but not a mild as recent days. A look at Saturday's surface map shows the upper level low which initiated all the severe weather over the Deep South hanging out over the Great Lakes. As it continues to spin it will spark snow showers through the Upper Midwest.

A little closer to North Carolina we'll see a shift to Northwesterly flow at the surface and aloft. This means cooler weather and a return to below average temperatures for the first full weekend of March. A gradual warm up is in the forecast this work week, but it appears after Saturday we won't return to the 60's until at least midweek. Overnight lows will be a little on the chilly side as most areas will experience nighttime temps below freezing. That means a couple of frosty mornings- so even though you may let your office or house plant soak up the sun be sure to bring it in at night.

Along those lines, I've already had a few people asking about early season planting and it's still a little early as our average last freeze is still more than a month away. According to the NWS Raleigh, the average last freeze for the viewing area normally occurs between April 1st-12th. So, if you've got a backyard garden hang tight for a couple more weeks.

Rainfall Totals

Even though the overnight storms were few and far between, it was the rain that came down hard and heavy for many of us Friday morning. These are the 24 hour rain totals from 7am Thursday until 7am Friday.

  • Raleigh: 1.16"
  • Fayetteville: 0.63"
  • Lumberton: 0.61"
  • Greensboro: 1.46"
  • Charlotte: 3.41"

Beginning to Calm...

There is less than an hour left on the overnight tornado watch. Most of the strong winds and heavy rain has shifted eastward. Soon, the main cold front will pass east, effectively bringing an end to our severe weather threat.

New Tornado Watch Unitl 8am

The new watch includes most of the News 14 Carolina viewing area. The potential for severe weather continues into the early morning hours. Now that the Bobcats game has concluded we'll be on the air for updates every ten minutes. If severe weather begins to develop we'll be ready to cover it in long form, "wall to wall".

Thursday, March 01, 2007

New Meso Discussion from SPC

A tornado watch will likely be posted within the hour. It will include the Triangle and the Sandhills. You can read more about our local environment and why the SPC is leaning towards a watch by clicking here.

Radar Trends and Thoughts past 11pm

The back edge of the main line of thunderstorms is pressing eastward through West Georgia. There are still three tornado watches in effect and storms can be found within each watch. A little closer to the Triangle temperatures are in the upper 50's to lower 60's as a steady rain falls. Warmer air continues press in ahead of a cold front which would indicate the possibility for storms still exists past midnight tonight. Lightning though is showing signs of weakening throughout the entire line of storms. This could be encouraging, but it could also be lull in the action before it ramps up again.

I'm still relying on the temperature/dew point map from the hourly analysis page at the SPC. It's continuing to show rich moisture is having a hard time making it into Central North Carolina. Right now, deep moisture is confined mainly in South Carolina and points southward. There is still a shot we could see dew points climb briefly before the front crashes in, but right now it isn't happening.

Enterprise Tornado...

You are looking at a cell phone image of the Coffee County tornado that struck Enterprise, Alabama on Thursday. You can clearly see a large tornado on the horizon. Most of it is obscured by the buildings in the foreground, but it still looks ominous. This is the same tornado which struck the high school leaving many students injured and a few dead. Our thanks to James Spann of ABC 33/40 in Birmingham, Alabama for allowing us to use this viewer emailed image on our blog.

Images from Enterprise, AL

Here are some images of the devastation in Enterprise, Alabama. I need to give a courtesy to WTVY-TV in Dothan, Alabama for their use on our blog. You can clearly see the damage to the high school, but most notably the twisted metal and cropped tree tops all signs of a strong tornado. The National Weather Service in Tallahassee, FL will conduct an official survey on this tornado Friday. This survey will determine the Fujita ranking of the tornado as it plowed through Coffee County.

New Tornado Watch

We're continuing to monitor storms moving across the South tonight. A new tornado watch has been issued well west of the Triangle and includes Charlotte. Conditions are beginning to slowly deteriorate in South Carolina, but radar trends are only showing heavy rain with embedded thunderstorms. One could say storms are weakening a bit as they move in this direction, but keep in mind much of this area is not yet unstable. That part of the equation is ongoing at the moment. Most of the rich moisture (Dew Points of 60 or higher) are still in central parts of South Carolina and North Georgia and advecting in this direction.

8pm Update from SPC

The Day 1 Outlook has been updated from the Storm Prediction Center. A Moderate Risk circles Georgia and South Carolina. The likelihood for severe weather will continue to cut across the Deep South as instability is highest in places like Columbia, SC and Athens, GA.

The News 14 Carolina viewing area is located within a Slight Risk area tonight. As the evening progresses the major threat is going to come from the organization of a squall line of storms that'll move through the state. Heavy rain, hail, straight line winds, along with the small threat for an isolated tornado will be greatest from midnight to 7am. Remember to have a NOAA Weather Radio somewhere within earshot before going to bed tonight.

8:00 pm Update...

Winds have picked up speed across the state. I noticed a sudden shift to Southerly flow around 6:45 this evening while I was out and about. Around the Triangle winds have increased to around 20mph with gusts as high as 33. This is helping to transport moisture that's needed to fuel thunderstorms. As of now the amount of moisture isn't alarmingly high, but should begin to edge higher as a warm front moves through the state later tonight.

Alabama Hit Hard...

As expected, the Deep South has become a hotbed for severe weather Thursday afternoon and evening. Stories are now beginning to come out of every corner of the state of Alabama- many of them downright scary. A major tornado slammed Enterprise, Alabama in the Southeastern part of the state. Click here for an updated story.

The Stage is Set...

The BIG weather story today is the threat for severe weather in the Deep South. Our friends in Eastern Mississippi, Alabama, and Western Georgia are on guard for an outbreak of thunderstorms containing heavy rain, large hail, and damaging winds. The ingredients are also coming together for tornadoes- some of them violent.

Here are a few links to monitor changing conditions.
This is all apart of the same storm that will eventually drag a cold front through North Carolina. Our local environment will be destabilizing throughout Thursday afternoon into early Friday morning. With a prime atmosphere containing ample moisture, a screaming low level 850 mb jet, and a powerful upper level jet stream moving in later it appears severe weather is a good possibility through the overnight tonight. Night time severe weather is particularly dangerous since many of us are asleep. So it's a good idea to have the weather radio turned on tonight before going to bed. If a warning is issued tune to News 14 Carolina, we're going to be on top of every storm as it comes at us- even if it's through the overnight. That's the power of being a 24 hour channel.