Thursday, January 31, 2008

Rain and Storms on the Way...

A couple things to look forward to in our weather over the next few days... some much needed rain late tonight and Friday and very pleasant conditions for the weekend. The only problem in the forecast comes in the form of a slight chance for strong thunderstorms Friday.

The stage is now set for a good soaking rainfall across much of North Carolina. This morning we're tracking a storm system that is producing the threat for severe weather along the Gulf coast and wintry weather for places like Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky.

The above radar image from shows the storm system we are tracking as of just before 10am Thursday morning. Rain should begin to spread into North Carolina this evening. In the northern mountains and northern foothills, temperatures will drop to near or just below freezing. Freezing rain could become an issue in the areas from Mount Airy to Boone and points to the north. The Triad may see some sleet overnight as the precipitation sets in, but temperatures there will be above freezing so travel should not be a problem. Here in the Triangle and Sandhills this will be an all rain event with lows dropping to near 40 in the Triangle to the low 40s in the Sandhills.

Around daybreak, a warm front will lift through the eastern half of the state. That will make for a somewhat unstable atmosphere as a cold front then sweeps across the Carolinas from the west to east. That may be enough to produce a few strong thunderstorms. While we do not anticipate widespread severe weather, the Storm Prediction Center has placed parts of the region under a "slight risk" for severe storms.

The threat for the strong storms will mainly come from mid-morning into the early afternoon. We'll keep you posted with the latest updates every 10 minutes with Weather on the Ones.

Again, the good news out of this will be the rain. We now expect about 1 inch of rain on average around our region. Some parts of western North Carolina could see up to 2 inches.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Early Morning Showers

A brief round of showers moved through our area between 2am and 5am early this Wednesday morning. On average, most of us picked up about a tenth of an inch of rain. Here are some of the totals from around the News 14 Carolina viewing area --

  • Clayton: 0.16"
  • Fayetteville: 0.16"
  • Goldsboro: 0.13"
  • Raleigh-Durham: 0.13"
  • Chapel Hill: 0.09"
  • Lumberton: 0.05"

More rain is on the way for late Thursday night into Friday. This next system is now showing promises of bringing more substantial rains for the state. Based on the latest computer model data, it is quite possible that a lot of us could pick up around an inch of rain.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Drought Outlook

The latest seasonal drought outlook released earlier this month does give us a little hope for our current drought conditions. The forecast through April is for an ongoing drought, but "some improvement". We won't see much of that improvement this week. While we do have a couple of rain chances coming up early Wednesday morning and Friday, the chances for a substantial soaking rain do not look good.

The 8-14 day forecast through next week does suggest we may have more rain chances ahead. That forecast from the Climate Prediction Center forecasts above average rainfall for our area.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Weather and Optical Illusions

Good Sunday to you!

I was thinking back on winters I've spent working in other parts of the country and I thought about how this time of year when I was in Michigan I saw light pillars eminating from atop light poles when I'd drive home on very cold nights.

Since our weather is rather quiet today I thought I'd give you a little quiz about about optical phenomena.

Which one of the following is *not* associated with weather?

a) Solar (light) pillars (okay, that was a giveaway..)

b) Cloudbows

c) frog nimbus

d) sun dogs

The answer is c) frog nimbus. But believe it or not, there is actually a type of frog with nimbus in its name (the things you learn when you Google something!).

The frog's name is Crinia nimbus
Family: Myobatrachidae
It is dark brown on its back with darker patches on the body (above the line of the arms), lower back and sides. A dark stripe runs from the snout, through the eye and broadens behind the eye to enclose the tympanum (tight membrane covering the entrance to the ear). The dark stripe is boarded below by a white stripe. The belly is dark brown with white spots. The throat and arms sometimes have a yellow tinge. Fingers and toes are not fringed.
Size: 25 - 30 mm
This frog lives in cloud forests in the subalpine moorlands and lowland rainforests of Tasmania.

(So thats your "Hey Mable" moment for the weekend. I dare you to try to work *that* into the water cooler talk on Monday!)

About our other weather phenomena....

a) Solar (light) pillars:

Columns of light apparently beaming directly upwards from uncovered lights are sometimes visible during very cold weather. Plate shaped ice crystals, normally only present in high cirrus clouds, float in the air close to the ground and their horizontal facets reflect light back downwards. The pillars are not physically over the lights or anywhere else in space for that matter. They are purely the collected light beams from all the millions of crystals which just happen to be reflecting light towards your eyes or camera.
A Solar Pillar occurs when the sun is reflected so strongly that the reflection is almost as bright as the sun itself. In the daytime the pillar appears to move when the observer moves, but always remains directly below the sun. Like a rainbow, this sight is dependent on where the light is coming from and where the observer is standing.

b) Cloudbows:

A Cloudbow is similar to a rainbow (can also have fogbows), but without any colors due to the very small size of the water droplets.

d) Sun dog:

A sun dog also referred to as mock sun is a colorful patch of light that is caused by the refraction of sunlight by tiny six-sided crystals of ice within the atmosphere. When the sunlight passes through the crystals of ice, it is bent by 22 degrees before reaching the eyes of the observer, thus producing a sun dog. The sun dog scientifically known as parhelion is actually an atmospheric optical phenomenon (the phenomenon involving light). A group of sun dogs are known as parhelia( meaning with the sun).

As far as our quiet weather for the next day or so, we have high pressure moving eastward to NC this second half of the weekend. we'll hvae beautiful blue skies, but it will be a little breezy. this means it will feel colder than our forecasted highs in the upper 40s.
We're looking for clear skies tonight, which means cold temperatures for the morning commute! lows 27-29 with light N winds.
Monday will start out sunny but we'll see clouds move in at night. Highs Monday in the low to mid 50s, lows with cloudy skies in the low to mid 30s.
Mild weather Tuesday with cloudy skies and a chance for rain showers developing - high 63, low 44.
Have a great week!
Pati Darak

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Dreary start to the weekend, but sun for Sunday!

Before we got started about our forecast, I wanted to show this picture from California's Mt Wilson Observatory. This week has been a hard one for the left coast, having been pounded by some significant rains and snows. This picture shows a great view but doesn't tell the whole story. Scientists there had to shut the telescopes down due to the snow, and staffers had to man the snowplows that had not been used for at least a year! California is expecting yet another round of rain and snow into next week, which could continue to cripple portions of that state.

We have cloudy skies across North Carolina today as low pressure skirts our coast. it will continue to pull Northward and intensify, which could being some nasty seas off the NE coast Sunday, but should not be a big an impact to New England's weather.
High pressure will come in for Sunday and Monday and we'll see sunshine and a return to 50-degree weather once again. We'll even see another powerful storm make its way through south central Canada into tuesday, dragging a cold front toward NC. Since we're at the southernmost edge of this system, we're not expecting a lot of precipitation in the form of rain, but every little bit helps.
We'll also get another chance for rain Thursday into friday. Check your forecast here at News 14 Carolina for updates!

Video bloggers, I mentioned that I had a couple opf good reads for you. The pictures I had from the internet of the covers were so small that you never would have been able to read them on the video screen, so thanks for joining me here to see them.

These are not new books, so if you've already seen them, great! There are some folks new to NC or just developing an interest in our weather, so here's a couple of almost 'old standards' from the weather bookshelf.

The first one is North Carolina's Hurricane History by Jay Barnes. Its been out for some time, but worth bringing to one's attention. This has a great perspective from the colonial era through modern times. North Carolina's Hurricane History is a popular illustrated history of the more than fifty great storms that have battered the Tar Heel state from the days of the first European explorers through 1999's devastating hurricane Floyd, which caused $6 billion in damages. Jay Barnes examined newspaper reports, National Weather Service records, and eyewitness descriptions to compile this extraordinary chronicle, which also features nearly 300 photographs, maps, and illustrations.

The next one is North Carolina Weather and Climate, by Peter J. Robinson. Robinson is professor of geography at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and director of the North Carolina Climate Program. He is coauthor of Contemporary Climatology.
If you wanted to get a good idea of how weather works here, this is a great book!

Have a great Saturday!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Cold This Morning, But at Least It's Not 20" of Snow!

Temperatures dropped to the upper teens and low 20s this morning across our area. When you added in a light breeze, it felt even colder. In fact, the wind chill got as cold as 10 this morning in Chapel Hill.

It certainly was a cold start to the morning but at least it was dry. This is what the radar picture looked like about 8 years ago on the night of January 24 and early morning of January 25, 2000 --

Folks that lived in North Carolina 8 years ago will remember this one. That is a radar image from the winter storm that produce the greatest snowfall in Raleigh's history.

Snow began to fall late on the night of January 24, 2000 and did not end until late morning to midday January 25, 2000. Near blizzard conditions were reported during the middle of the night. When the snow was over, 20.3"of snow was reported at RDU. Other reports around the Triangle measured as high as 2 feet!

The storm was not a very well forecast storm due to some errors in computer models leading up to the storm. Meteorologists at the National Weather Service and North Carolina State University have done a lot of research on that January 2000 snowfall to improve future winter storm forecasts. You can read an in-depth review of the storm from the Raleigh office of the National Weather Service by clicking to also has an archived story on how the record snowfall affected Raleigh residents at

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Look Back at Saturday's Snow and a Look Ahead to a Cold Friday

The National Weather Service in Raleigh has posted a statewide snowfall total map from Saturday. You can see the image above. While most of our area saw anywhere from a dusting to half an inch of snow. There was a band of somewhat higher accumulations across southern Alamance, northern Orange, and northern Durham Counties. In that band, up to 2.5" of snow as reported.

The snow is all gone, and there isn't any in our forecast anytime soon. However, colder temperatures are in our forecast beginning tonight. A cold front will move through the state today bringing breezy conditions this afternoon. Those winds should die down some tonight as temperatures drop to the low to mid 20s by early Friday morning.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A Little Freezing Rain.... A Few Slick Spots

Spotty light freezing rain caused a few slick spots on roads and highways around the Triangle this morning. Temperatures had been below freezing since late last night, so even though the precipitation was light, it froze on contact with road surfaces.

With a little sun breaking out this morning, temperatures should be above freezing by midday giving us just a few rain showers in the the afternoon. All the slick spots should be gone for the afternoon commute home.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Cold this Morning; Freezing Drizzle Tuesday Morning?

Temperatures dipped well below normal into the mid teens this morning. There were no records set across the area though. The record low temperature for January 21 at RDU is -9 set in 1985. That is the coldest temperature on record at RDU. That same day in 1985 the low reached -10 in Louisburg and -5. (Click here to see a statewide low temperature map from January 21, 1985.)

Luckily, it wasn't quite that cold here this morning! Here's a look at lows from around the region:

  • Louisburg: 12
  • Southern Pines: 12
  • Henderson-Oxford: 14
  • Smithfield: 14
  • Chapel Hill: 15
  • Raleigh-Durham: 15
  • Rocky Mount-Wilson: 15
  • Fayetteville: 18
  • Laurinburg-Maxton: 18
  • Goldsboro: 20
  • Lumberton: 20

Sunny skies will prevail for today, and now our attention will turn to Tuesday morning. Clouds will build into the state late tonight with a chance for light scattered showers Tuesday. The timing of when those showers begin is key to our forecast. Temperatures are expected to drop to the mid 20s tonight, so if those showers begin to fall tomorrow morning, light freezing rain is a possibility. Again, this will not be a major event. In fact, many spots will just see cloudy skies and cold temperatures.However, if that patchy light freezing drizzle or freezing rain falls over the road you take to work and school, that it will become an issue for you.

Any precipitation Tuesday morning would be very light and isolated, but if does fall over the right spot, it could cause some issues for the Tuesday morning commute. We'll have Weather on the Ones updates and traffic updates every 10 minutes Tuesday morning to keep you updated on the latest conditions.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Disappointing Snow Totals...

Saturday was a disappointing day for snow lovers in North Carolina. The above snowman picture sent in by a News 14 Carolina viewer in Hope Mills was about the best snowman anyone could build with this weekend's snow. Most accumulation reports ranged from a dusting to about a half inch.

So what happened to that several inch snowfall that was expected? Part of it can be blamed on the temperature
. We expected Saturday morning temperatures to start in the upper 30s and then drop in the afternoon. Temperatures did drop in the afternoon as anticipated, but it started just a little warmer at near 40 to the now 40s. Usually a temperature forecast that is 3 degrees off is considered pretty good. Forecast a high of 70 and the temperature actually hits 73, most people don't give it a second thought. However, as I have mentioned in the blog in the past, just a couple degree difference in temperature can make the world of difference in a winter weather forecast.

If the rain had indeed changed to snow around midday and had the snow stuck when it started snowing, some folks would have
seen close to 2". Instead, the colder air did not arrive until early afternoon and the changeover to snow did not come until around 2:30pm. Since temperatures had been at near 40 or the low 40s most of the morning, the snow did not initially stick. Temperatures did drop to the mid 30s when the snow started, but that is still above freezing and cold enough for for much accumulation except for a dusting on grassy surfaces. That meant a lot of the snow that fell melted when it hit the ground. The melting process actually takes heat from the ground and causesthe ground temperature to cool down. A snowfall that is coming down at a good intensity can actually cause the ground to cool pretty fast and cause the snow to start accumulating faster.

Just from Saturday's example you can see a lot has to be considered when it comes to winter weather forecasting. Not only does a forecaster
have to forecast how much precipitation will fall but he or she has to consider ground conditions and when an accumulation would begin. Snowfall intensity, ground temperature, temperatures above the surface, the temperature from previous days, timing of a rain to snow changeover, and amount of precipitation are all factors. Miss any one of those factors by just a little and a forecast can change from 2-4" to just a dusting.

Now we settle in for very cold weather into Monday. As I write this blog Sunday afternoon just after 1, the temperature has yet to reach 30. We may hit the low 30s in the next hour in some spots, but highs in the low 30s under full sunshine is rare for Raleigh, North Carolina. The very cold air mass should give us lows in the teens early
Monday morning.

Lows in the teens are cold, but if you really want to see cold, watch the Giants-Packers playoff game tonight from Green Bay. This cold weather is affecting much of the eastern half of the country. In Green Bay, today the high is struggling to get above zero. Game time temperatures will be just below zero with wind chills near -15! Now that's cold!

Very Dry Air Overhead Tonight and Monday

Hello on the very sunny but cold Sunday afternoon!

As in many other things, timing is everything. Our timing for the cold air versus the moisture yesterday led to smaller snowfall amounts than expected. However, we managed to see snowfall amounts on the average of a half inch to an inch in many areas of central North carolina.
As for the rest of the weekend, we have an area of cold dry high pressure overhead which will lead us into overnight lows in the teens (and dewpoints in the single digits ).
When air this dry is overhead, we can have higher amounts of static electricity, drier skin, etc.
While this is a short amount of time that we have this drier air overhead, it causes some discomfort for people. Here's some things you can do for yourself and those around the house:

-bring outdoor pets inside if possible, or make arrangements to keep them warm while outside,
-apply extra moisturizer, drink extra water
-don't crank the thermostat higher than necessary, as that will lower the relative humidity inside.
-if you have a humidifier, you can crank that up. If you don't have one, try putting a few bowls of water around the house.

Check out your weather on the ones forecast while you're here at to see when we have possibilities for showers this week!

Have a good Sunday
Pati Darak

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Snow Reports

Snow started falling across the Triangle and Sandhills around 3pm this afternoon. Accumulations have been light in most areas and mainly confined to grassy surfaces. As of 5pm, here's a listing of snow accumulations reported by the National Weather Service:

  • Chapel Hill: 0.5"
  • Lumberton: 0.5"
  • Pittsboro: 0.5"
  • Cary: 0.1"
  • Durham: 0.1"
  • Raleigh: Trace
  • Seven Lakes: Trace

Snow showers are expected to continue through the evening. Accumulations may come in a little lighter than originally expected in many areas. Stay tuned to News 14 Carolina for updates.

You'll also find coverage online on --

Wanted: Snow

Interesting picture sent in from one of our viewers in Franklin County..... we should begin to see more of the snow variety over the next several hours. Maybe not enough to make a snowman. The "mudman" may have to do for a while...

Saturday Early Afternoon Update

We've had numerous reports of rain now mixing with snow between Charlotte and Greensboro within the last 30-45 minutes. Just before 2pm, we also have our first report of a few flurries around Durham. The rain should mix with snow across the Triangle over the next couple of hours. Send your weather reports and pictures through the afternoon and evening to

Live weather updates continue every 10 minutes with Weather on the Ones through the afternoon only on News 14 Carolina.

Saturday Midday Update

The colder air is a little slower to make it into our part of the state than originally expected. That means the change over from rain to snow is taking a little longer. Light rain showers will continue through the early afternoon hours. We've had at least one report of some light sleet mixed in with the rain at times in Raleigh. A changeover to snow should take place around mid-afternoon into the evening for the Triangle.

Saturday Morning Update

Light rain has begun to fall across most of central North Carolina this morning. We still expect the rain to change over to snow around midday in the Triangle as colder air moves into the region. That change over to snow should take a little longer to take place for areas south and east of the Triangle like Fayetteville and Goldsboro.

The exact amount of snowfall this afternoon and tonight will all depend on the track of an area of low pressure out of the Gulf of Mexico. At this time, we expect about 2-4" around the Triangle to Wilson and 1-2" from Fayetteville to Goldsboro. There could be a band of some heavier snow totals. That will all depend on the exact track of the low out of the Gulf of Mexico. If the low were to track farther east, locations east of the Triangle may pick up more snow while the Triangle sees less snow. We will continue to follow the latest weather data and provide weather updates every 10 minutes through the day with Weather on the Ones.

You can let us know what's happening in your neighborhood by e-mailing your weather report to When the snow starts to fall, you can also e-mail your snow pictures to that same address.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Accumulating Snow Possible Saturday

There have been some pretty significant changes in our computer model forecasts over the last 24 to 36 hours. Those changes point toward a fairly good chance that we will see some snow across central North Carolina on Saturday.

An area of low pressure is developing this morning off the Texas Gulf coast. That low will track across the Gulf coast toward the Carolina coast late tonight into tomorrow. That will spread precipitation across the Carolinas Saturday just as cold air is arriving. The precipitation will likely start as all rain Saturday morning, but as temperatures drop I expect that rain to change to snow by the afternoon in the Triangle and by the evening for areas from Fayetteville to Goldsboro and Wilson.

Saturday's storm will be somewhat different in structure than the storm that brought us a cold rain on Thursday. The type of weather setup that we are looking for Saturday does not tend to bring an icy mix, instead it will bring a quick changeover from all rain to all snow.

When snow is in the forecast, the big question is just how much. The answer to that is still uncertain, and when it comes to snow in North Carolina that answer often remains uncertain until the snow is actually falling. However, with the chance for snow just one day away, I've attempted to tackle that question based on the weather data that I have reviewed so far today and tomorrow. It appears much of the Triangle could see between 2 and 5 inches of snow. With the changeover taking a little longer to the east of the Triangle, Fayetteville to Goldsboro and Wilson should look for 1 to 3 inches with lesser amounts the farther east you get from the Triangle.

Again, I'll emphasize that this forecast is not written in stone. There will likely be changes in the next 24 hours. We'll review the latest weather data and provide updated weather information every 10 minutes with Weather on the Ones only on News 14 Carolina. Stay tuned...

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Now Just a Cold Rain

After a quick burst of snow, the changeover to all rain has taken place across most of the area. Through 9 or 10, there may be some occasional sleet mixed in with the rain. However, a cold light rain has set in for the rest of the day. It now appears rain totals through the day will be less than a tenth of an inch of rain.

The rain should taper off by late afternoon. Our next chance for rain may now come on Saturday along with some colder temperatures. Some parts of the state may see that rain change over to some snow before it ends Saturday afternoon. We're just now following the latest weather data coming in on this weekend's system. There have been some changes in the model data over the last 12 to 24 hours. Stay tuned for updates on that system...

5am Update

Snow is beginning to fall across the Triangle this morning. Anywhere from a light dusting to an inch of snow is possible on grassy surfaces before the snow changes to a mix of snow, sleet, and freezing rain. The precipitation should become all rain by mid to late morning.

Early Morning Snow in the Sandhills

Viewer photo from Hope Mills in Cumberland County

Viewer photo from Pinebluff in Moore County.

We've had several reports of snow falling across the Sandhills in the very early morning hours of this Thursday. Most of the reports have just been of a light dusting on grassy surfaces and elevated surfaces like hand rails and decks. It appears the snow is beginning to mix with rain at this time in the Sandhills. As of this post, there have been no reports of precipitation in the Triangle. Radar shows returns over the Raleigh-Durham area but the air is so dry, the precipitation is not reach the ground just yet. I expect that to change over the next couple of hours.

You can send your reports and pictures to We'll feature some photos here on our blog, on TV, and on later in the day.

Live weather reports continue every 10 minutes through the morning on News 14 Carolina. Stay tuned to Weather on the Ones for the latest!

Snow Reported in the Sandhills

Just after midnight, snow has been reported in the Sandhills. The above picture was sent to us from a viewer in Hope Mills in Cumberland County. We've also had snow reports from the Aberdeen area.

You can send your reports and pictures to

Stay tuned to News 14 Carolina will have weather updates every 10 minutes.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Wintry Weather Possible Thursday Morning -- Wednesday Afternoon Update

News 14 Carolina meteorologists were just on a conference call with the National Weather Service in Raleigh. Based on those discussions and the latest weather data coming in this afternoon, here is the latest thinking on the chance for wintry weather Thursday morning --

2am - 4am: Precipitation begins to move into our area of North Carolina. The precipitation will spread from around the foothills and Charlotte area into the Sandhills during this time. The precipitation may start as a quick burst of snow before mixing with sleet and freezing rain.

4am - 5am: Precipitation spreads across the Triangle. Again, the precip. may begin as a quick burst of snow before mixing to sleet and freezing rain. A changeover to rain should begin during this time in the southern Sandhills.

5am-9am: (Rush hour period) Wintry mix continues in the Triangle. A dusting of snow is possible in some spots especially on the north and west side of the Triangle before the precipitation becomes more of a sleet/freezing rain mix. The precipitation should change to all rain in the Sandhills during this time. A few slick spots could form on some roads especially on bridges and overpasses around the Triangle during this time.

9am-11am: The precipitation should change over to all rain during this time.

Midday-Afternoon: A cold rain will continue across much of area with rain totals near 0.5" Most of the rain should come to an end around late afternoon.

This does not look to be a major winter weather event in our area. Because of the timing with the precipitation falling during the morning rush hour, there may be some issues around the Triangle. A dusting or light coating of frozen precipitation could cause a few slick spots. Again, especially be cautious on bridges and overpasses. It is probably best to leave for work a couple hours later than normal to avoid these issues as the changeover to rain should take place by late morning.

The Triad area (Greensboro and Winston-Salem area) will likely see the biggest impact from this winter event. While a crippling storm is not forecast, a glazing of ice from 0.10" to 0.25" around the Triad could make for tricky travel if you are headed west Thursday morning to Thursday early afternoon.

As with any winter weather event in North Carolina, things could still change. A couple degree change in temperature or a change in the arrival of the precipitation could mean a big change in the forecast. Because of that, we will continuously monitor the latest weather data into the night. The Weather on the Ones Forecast Center will be staffed around the clock tonight through tomorrow. We'll have updates every 10 minutes on News 14 Carolina.

When the precipitation begins to fall, you can let us know what type of weather you are experiencing in your part of North Carolina. Send your reports and weather pictures to

Winter Weather Advisories Issued for Thursday in the Triangle

Here's the statement issued this morning from the National Weather Service Office in Raleigh...

308 AM EST WED JAN 16 2008



308 AM EST WED JAN 16 2008







A Winter Storm Warning has been issued for the Triad Thursday morning into the afternoon. Areas around Greensboro and Winston-Salem could stay with a wintry mix through much of the day.

Stay tuned to Weather on the Ones on News 14 Carolina for the latest through the day.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Wintry Mix in the Forecast...

"Wintry mix"..... I uttered those words for the first time this season today. It appears our rainy day on Thursday could start with a mix of snow, sleet, and some freezing rain. The timing of the precipitation and the early morning temperature is the key to exactly what type of weather we will receive. Unfortunately, this may all arrive right around the rush hour Thursday morning.

The first ingredient in the "wintry mix" recipe is an area of high pressure that will build across the southeast today and move just northeast of our area Wednesday afternoon. The high will draw cool, dry air into the lower levels of the atmosphere across our region Wednesday evening. That should allow temperatures to drop near or just below freezing early Thursday morning.

The other ingredient is the moisture. That will be provided by an area of low pressure that will develop today and tomorrow just off the Gulf coast. The low will track toward the Carolina coast late Wednesday and early Thursday spreading precipitation into North Carolina before daybreak Thursday.

The precipitation will begin first in western North Carolina and toward the Charlotte area. The precipitation will then advance across the piedmont, Sandhills, and Triangle. It appears the precipitation will begin as snow mixing pretty quickly with sleet and some freezing rain.

Eventually the wintry mix will changeover to all rain across our area through the day Thursday. The changeover should happen pretty quickly around Fayetteville and to the south. There the wintry mix should be short lived. It may take to mid-morning for the changeover in the Triangle. On the west side of the Triangle, it may take to late morning. The Triad area of the Piedmont around Greensboro will likely see the longest period of the wintry weather with the changeover to all rain not coming until midday or early afternoon.

That's the latest forecast for now, but keep in mind a lot can change between now and Thursday morning especially when it comes to winter weather in North Carolina. If the timing of the precipitation changes or the temperature forecast changes by a degree or two, the entire forecast could dramatically change. We'll continue to follow the latest weather data and fine tune our forecasts as needed. Stay tuned to Weather on the Ones...

Monday, January 14, 2008

Northeast Snow

If you're a snow lover, Boston or another location in New England is the place to be today. Areas around Boston could see up to a foot of snow. The above picture taken was taken from a webcam just after 8am on the campus of Boston College. The snow in Boston will likely continue into the early afternoon.
Here in North Carolina, as you know, the weather remains calm. We have returned to a more January like pattern as far as temperatures go after a spring like week last week. Our next chance for rain here will should come Thursday as a low tracks out of the Gulf of Mexico toward the Carolina coast. Model estimates now suggest we may see about a half an inch of rain. Things could change between now and then though, so stay tuned...

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Why some 'weather' pain before the rain

The other day I was speaking to my friend Cynthia, who asked when the storms were coming.
Now, this was last Wednesday, and our cold front wasn't expected to cross NC until Friday. Having spoken to other folks with joint problems who could forecast the weather days in advance, I knew what to ask. I learned from my friend that it was her hip talking to her and apparently quite loudly!
So, how is it that some folks can look out the window on a clear, sunny day while uttering 'rain's a-coming' ?
The most likely cause identified by arthritis sufferers and researchers is a drop in barometric pressure, which is the pressure exerted by the air around us. A drop in barometric pressure often precedes a storm, and the theory goes that a decrease in the air pressure can cause the tissues around the joints to swell, causing arthritic pain. Proponents of the idea use a balloon in a barometric chamber as a simulator. If the pressure outside drops, the air in the balloon expands. If the same happened in the area around an arthritic joint, the expansion or swelling could irritate the nerves, causing pain. Hopefully with high pressure moving in for the first part of our work week, Cynthia will see some relief!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

While no winter weather for much of NC, we talked about snow in Cary!

Today we have a pleasant day across much of North Carolina. The cold front that passed through our state Friday (while not bringing about much of any rain) is located just off our coast and will stay that way for the weekend.

Along this front we'll see a wave of low pressure develop to the south and it is expected to move northward along this front on Sunday bringing us the possibility of some clouds and sprinkles.

I got to talk about winter weather and snowflakes to the Kids Korner group today at West Regional library in Cary . (Thanks to Sue Mellott for inviting News 14, we'll post pics if they become available.) This library is about 1 year old and its a great walkable / bikeable destination for a good book.

We discussed the different snowflakes that are possible and what kinds of temperatures are necessary for them. The book we used was Ken Libbrecht's Field Guide to Snowflakes ( in case its on your shelf as well!) . We even had folks from Vermont who shared about snow in their area this year (they're on their way to warmer locations...thats a clue as to how they needed to get away from it)!

What makes snow white?
Snow is a whole bunch of individual ice crystals arranged together. When light enters a layer of snow, it goes through an ice crystal on the top, which changes its direction slightly and sends it on to a new ice crystal, which does the same thing. Eventually the light bounces right back out of the pile! The "color" of all the frequencies in the visible spectrum combined in equal measure is white, so this is the color we see in snow, while it is not the color we see in the individual ice crystals that form snow.

How is snow made for ski slopes, etc.?
It is produced by a machine that uses a high-pressure pump to spray a mist of water into cold air. The water droplets subsequently crystallize to form fake snow.
In a snow machine, water is first mixed with a nucleating material. It is then pressurized and forced through an atomizing nozzle. This turns the water into a mist, which is then injected with compressed air to make it a fine mist. As it exits the snow machine, the mist crystallizes on the nucleator and turns into tiny snow-like ice particles. Depending on the quality of the snow machine, the artificial snow can be as good as natural snow.

Our vermont couple brought up a very noteworthy name in snow research:

(courtesy website:

You've heard the phrase "no two snowflakes are like"...this man was the one to prove it!
The discovery was made in the small rural town of Jericho, Vermont by Wilson A. Bentley (1865-1931).
He was a self-educated farmer who adapted a camera to a microscope and after years of trial and error, he became the first person to photograph a single snow crystal in 1885.

He ended up photographing over 5000 snowflakes and not one looked like another! Because of his work he went down in history affectionately as "Snowflake" Bentley.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Wild January Weather

The ups and downs of our weather so far in January 2008 have had some people asking... how unusual is it for us to have such wild weather changes in January? Well, it is somewhat rare, but it has happened before. All we do is look back to just 3 years ago...

On January 13-14, 2005 a storm system produced severe weather across North Carolina including a weak F0 tornado that swept through a small part of Orange County. The above map and photo was taken from a storm damage survey from the National Weather Service Office in Raleigh.
That same system caused several wind damage reports across central North Carolina as well and one other tornado in northern Warren County near the Virginia border. It was not too long after that when the weather looked like this in Raleigh..
The above picture is another photo from the National Weather Service Office in Raleigh. This was taken on the Centennial Campus of North Carolina State on January 19, 2005. Many people in Wake County will remember January 19, 2005. That is the day a half inch to one inch of snow caused gridlock around Raleigh. Motorists reported being stuck in traffic for hours and some school children had to spend the night in school.
So, yes there have been some wild weather changes during Januarys of the past. And now in January 2008, we're getting ready for more "wild" swings in the weather. We've already seen some of the coldest air of the season last week when morning lows dropped to the teens. So far, this week, we've set two record high temperatures in the Triangle. Next on the horizon could be some stormy weather Friday morning.
The above is the forecast surface map for Friday morning. Late Thursday night we'll see a warm front race across the state. That front will cause temperatures to actually warm up overnight. We'll go from lows in the low to mid 50s Thursday evening to the low to mid 60s by daybreak Friday morning. That warm up should create a somewhat unstable atmosphere as that cold front you see on the above surface map moves across the state. When that front bumps into the unstable atmosphere across the Carolinas, we expect a line of showers with a few embedded thunderstorms. In fact, we're monitoring the potential for some strong storms Friday morning.
As of early Thursday morning, the Storm Prediction Center has placed eastern North Carolina under a "slight risk" for severe storms. The severe weather threat could bring gusty and damaging winds in the strongest storms. It's not a guarantee that we will see severe storms Friday morning, but the chance is there. We'll have updates every 10 minutes on News 14 Carolina with more frequent updates if warranted.

So how will the weather change from Friday? First off, we expect cooler weather for the weekend with highs in the 50s on Saturday and possibly only the 40s for Sunday. By Sunday, it appears low pressure will be forming off the Carolina coast. Computer forecast models have "flipped and flopped" back and forth with the solution for late Sunday and early Monday. Some models have kept the low far enough east that it would not bring any precipitation to our part of the state. Others this morning's 6Z run of the GFS (posted below) model brings the low right along the coast bringing some a needed cold soaking rain our way by late Sunday afternoon and evening.

The above model forecast is taken for Sunday evening. If the low does take that track, we would see a cold rain through Sunday night and possibly lasting into the early morning hours on Monday. As the low pulls away from the coast, it would pull in cold air behind it. That could be enough to change the rain to some light snow in the Piedmont (areas west of the Triangle) early on Monday. However, that all depends on the exact track of the low. With the computer models still varying on their forecasts for late Sunday and early Monday, it is too early to make a call on exactly what we expect. So for now, it's just another system to watch closely. We certainly will be watching it, and you can count on News 14 Carolina for Weather on the Ones updates into the weekend as we fine tune that late weekend forecast. Stay tuned...

You can read more about some of the topics on today's blog by visiting some of the following links:

Another Record on Tuesday

Tuesday's high of 73 at RDU broke the old record of 72 in 1965. Very warm early morning temperatures along with a little sunshine was just enough to bring afternoon temperatures a little higher than expected, and that was just enough for yet another record.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Rare January Tornadoes

The above photos were taken from storm damage surveys after Monday's tornadoes in Wisconsin. Tornadoes were also reported in Missouri and Illinois.

Click here to see more damage photos and radar images from the Wisconsin tornadoes.

Click here for an in-depth look at Monday's tornadoes in Missouri.

Record Set on Tuesday

2008 will go down in the record books for the warmest temperature recorded on January 8. Yesterday's high of 73 at RDU beat the old record of 71 set in 2005.

Temperatures are starting out very warm for January again as I write this blog post Wednesday morning. The lowest hourly reading from RDU so far has been 60 -- that's 10 degrees above the normal high for this time of year! Highs today should climb into the upper 60s to near 70. The record high for today currently stands at 72 set in 1965.

We're still monitoring a few weather systems that will affect our weather over the coming days. One will bring cloudy skies, cooler temperatures, and some light showers our way for Thursday. Highs should only climb into the mid 50s around the Triangle tomorrow with readings near 60 expected in the Sandhills. Look for temperatures to then climb into the low to mid 60s by Friday morning when another cold front will move across the state bringing showers and thunderstorms.

Like some politicians this time of year, our long range computer models have been "flip-flopping" back and forth with the forecast for the last half of the weekend. We'll be watching for the possibility of a coastal low developing Sunday. One model this morning kept the low out to sea keeping us dry. Other models have a more westerly track for the low bringing us a chance for a cold rain late Sunday. Earlier this week, there was some question as to whether there would be enough cold air to change that cold rain into some type of wintry precipitation. That is not the most likely solution at this point, but still not out of the realm of possibilites. Stay tuned as we continue to fine tune that forecast...

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The Weather Roller Coaster Rolls On...

Up and down... up and down... that seems like a good way to describe our weather over the last week and a good way to describe it for the next week or two. Just last week, Raleigh hit the lowest temperature so far this season -- 17 on Friday morning. Fast forward to today when we stand a good chance to setting a new record high! The record for January 8 now stands at 71 set in 2005.

Don't get to used to the spring-like weather in January. It will come to an end by the weekend. In the transition period, we'll have the chance for a few showers. The first chance will come tomorrow as a front moves into the state. This is part of the same storm system that produced several tornadoes across Missouri and Illinois late Monday and early Tuesday. The storm will lose some of its punch and most of its energy will pass us to the north. That will leave North Carolina with just a few light scattered showers. In our area, we only expect anywhere from a trace to less than a tenth of an inch of rain. After some clearing late Wednesday, more clouds will build back into the state along with a few light showers for Thursday.

Another storm system will approach our area late Thursday into early Friday. This one may pack more of a punch for North Carolina. Along with a better chance for rain, there is the potential for some thunderstorms early Friday morning. This storm will eventually usher some cooler air into the state.

The weekend should start fairly pleasant with mostly sunny to partly cloudy conditions on Saturday and highs in the 50s. With colder air moving in, highs on Sunday will only reach the low 40s. At the same time, at least one computer model shows an area of low pressure developing along the North Carolina coast. This will spread precipitation into the state late Sunday and early Monday. This particular system will have to be watched closely along with the colder temperatures for any chance for wintry weather. There is some disagreement among the long range computer models on this weekend system and its track. It's track will ultimately determine our weather, and a lot can and will change between now and then. It is much too early to make a definite call on that forecast. We'll continue to monitor the latest weather data over the coming days. Stay tuned to Weather on the Ones for your latest 7-day forecast at :21 and :51 after the hour!

Monday, January 07, 2008

Warm Weather is Back!

Our weather roller coaster continues. It's almost hard to believe that just last week we had the coldest air of the season with morning lows in the teens. Now this week highs will top out in the 70s at least for Monday and Tuesday. In fact, we'll come close to record highs. Here are the records to watch for RDU --
  • Monday: 74 in 1946
  • Tuesday: 71 in 2005

While it won't be quite as warm for Wednesday through Friday, we still expect fairly mild weather for January. We'll have a couple chances to pick up at least a few showers later in the week. Colder, more January like weather should return by late in the weekend and early next week.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Continued warmth for the start of our work week

Welcome and I hope you have had a chance to enjoy your weekend. The weather has been quite pleasant, especially if you had outdoor plans that would have been disturbed by rain.
As for me, I'm looking forward to the next time I can dodge between the raindrops, but seeing the sun shine through the weather on the Ones studio window is hard to resist!

Hopefully if you have made some new years resolutions, you're still true to your goals. According to a study by the University of Washington, only 63% of those surveyed were keeping to their resolutions after 2 months! (I'm sure someone else has done a study somewhere else which shows different opinion is an opinion!)

So, if your resolution involved being outside on a dry day, here's what to expect this week:
Sunday: the rest of today will have lots of sunshine with some passing clouds from time to time. highs in the Low to mid 60s.
Monday: Sunny once again and milder still! Highs will be in the low 70s.
Tuesday: Mostly sunny (maybe a few clouds streaming in later in the day) but continued warm..highs in the low to mid 70s.
Wednesday: The warmup stops here and we level off. Have an umbrella by the door!Clouds and a chance of showers , highs only in the mid 60s (not too shabby, since our average high is about 50 for this time of year!).
Thursday: More clouds later in the day than when we started. Highs near 60.
Friday: There's a chance showers will have started before you got up for the day, and we have a chance of showers for the first part of Friday. Highs again near 60.
Saturday/ Sunday: Looking dry with highs near 50.

Have a great Sunday

Pati Darak
News 14 Carolina

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Warmup finally in the cards for this weekend

After getting a good taste of winter cold, we now get a chance to feel springlike temps once again!
Calm weather dominates the next few days. Highs Saturday with mostly cloudy skies will reach the mid 50s and by Tuesday we'll be near 70!

I hope you had a good week. While we had some decent rains recently, we're still in exceptional drought for a good portion of the state (which includes our Triangle, Sandhills, Down East of I-95 areas ). Few counties were downgraded from Exceptional to severe status, but if we remain in a pattern without significant rain, we will see those counties returning to the exceptional drought level soon.
The next few months look to have a dry pattern for NC . I had someone ask me if thats means no rain at all. Actually, what is means is that our predominant weather pattern for the next few months lean toward dry weather. However, there can always be events where we see a good measure of rain (like last week). We plan for the long-term patterns and enjoy when we get our bonus rainfall.

Since folks make new years resolutions in January, here's one that can be helpful during our drought. Take an inventory of how much water your household uses. Here's a link to a site which will walk you through it:

As for this week, we have a couple of chances for some showers. We won't count the chance for sprinkles on Sunday (mostly for the counties which border Virginia) but might see a little rain wednesday and Friday. Keep checking your Weather on the Ones Forecast for updates!

Have a pleasant saturday.

Friday, January 04, 2008

The Coldest So Far...

We recorded some of the coldest temperatures so far this season this morning as our area dropped into the mid to upper teens. Here's a preliminary look at lows from around the region --
  • Southern Pines: 12
  • Chapel Hill: 15
  • Goldsboro: 15
  • Rocky Mount-Wilson: 15
  • Louisburg: 16
  • Lumberton: 16
  • Smithfield: 16
  • Fayetteville: 17
  • Laurinburg-Maxton: 17
  • Raleigh-Durham: 17
  • Henderson-Oxford: 18

Another cold morning is on the way for Saturday when lows should drop to the low to mid 20s. A warm will begin this weekend though. By Monday and Tuesday, we could see highs near 70!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Cold Thursday Morning

Here's a look at some of the lowest hourly temperatures from around the area this morning --
  • Chapel Hill: 19
  • Southern Pines: 19
  • Laurinburg-Maxton: 20
  • Henderson-Oxford: 21
  • Louisburg: 21
  • Raleigh-Durham: 21
  • Rocky Mount-Wilson: 21
  • Smithfield: 21
  • Lumberton: 23
  • Goldsboro: 24
  • Erwin: 25

A northerly wind made those lows feel even colder. Wind chills ranged between 10 and 15 around daybreak today. The winds should become later this evening, so the wind chill will not be a factor tonight or Friday morning. However, calm winds and clear skies should allow temperatures to drop a little more tonight. Friday morning should featured some of the coldest temperatures so far this season with lows in the mid to upper teens. If that's too cold for you, just hang on through the weekend. By next week, we may see highs in the upper 60s to near 70!

More on the Mountain Snow

What a beautiful sight! The above picture was taken from a webcam around 8am this morning in the Shining Rock Wilderness area of western North Carolina. The view is looking toward a snow covered Cold Mountain.

A few snow flurries were reported in the Triangle around midday Wednesday, but all the accumulating snow stayed in the mountains. News 14 Carolina reporter Jonathan Lowe visited Boone yesterday to check out the snow. You can read his report and watch and watch video from his report on Just click to "NC mountains get first snowfall."

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Snow in the Mountains

Snow is falling in the North Carolina mountains today. The above picture is from a webcam on top of Mount Mitchell around 9am Wednesday morning.

If you're dreaming of some snow, you can check out webcams from around western North Carolina at
Our only chance to see snow today will be in the form of a flurry, but even that is not likely. If you happen to see a flurry, you can let us know by e-mailing

A Look Back at 2007

When it comes to the weather of 2007, two words can sum up the year for North Carolina -- warm and dry. We broke several record highs this summer including tying the all time record high of 105 at RDU. A warm 2007 was the story for the entire U.S. as well. In fact, 2007 will likely go down in the top 10 warmest years on record. You can read more about the warm 2007 across the country by clicking to

For a look at a climate summary across the U.S. for 2007, visit

You'll find a list of significant weather events in central North Carolina at

Let's hope 2008 will bring wetter weather, although the first week of the year should be dry.

Happy New Year from everyone at News 14 Carolina!