Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Winter Outlook

The above photos look like winter scenes taken in January or February, but those photos were actually taken Tuesday morning, October 28 when snow showers fell in the North Carolina mountains. The top photo was taken from the Pisgah Inn along the Blue Ridge Parkway at about 5000 ft in elevation. The second photo was taken around Grandfather Mountain.

The cold front that brought the cold temperatures to produce the snow in the mountains even produced some isolated late sleet around the Triangle on Monday afternoon. We received reports of sleet from viewers in Pittsboro, Apex, Cary, and Louisburg.

So does this late October cold snap mean we are in for a cold and snowy winter? No, not necessarily. While temperatures have been colder than normal the past couple of days, we cannot make any correlation between the current weather and what we can expect over the next several months.

Long range forecasts for winter 2008-2009 have been mixed. The latest forecast from the Climate Prediction Center (shown below) calls for above normal temperatures and below normal precipitation for December, January, and February.

Keep in mind we could still have a few cold snaps and even some winter precipitation in a winter that is on average warmer and drier than normal. And yes, it is too early to answer that question for snow lovers of how much snow we can expect this winter. We can tell you we see an average of 7 inches of snow each winter in the Triangle, but the last few winters have fallen well below that normal.

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