Friday, October 23, 2009

Dry 2009 So Far in the Triangle....

This week's drought monitor places much of central North Carolina under a moderate drought. The rainfall deficit for Raleigh-Durham now stands at 9.34" for the year. If the Triangle does not see much rain over the next couple of months, 2009 may go down in the record books as one of the driest years on record. So far this year, RDU has measured 26.87" of rain. Compare that do the top 10 driest years for the Raleigh-Durham area since 1887:
  1. 1933: 29.33"
  2. 1921: 32.09"
  3. 1976: 33.71"
  4. 1930: 33.92"
  5. 1965: 34.42"
  6. 1940: 34.46"
  7. 1951: 34.52"
  8. 2001: 34.78"
  9. 1991: 35.46"
  10. 1968: 35.60"

One of the reason's the area is behind normal for rainfall this year is the lack of rainfall from any tropical systems. North Carolina picks up a large amount of its average rainfall during the summer from tropical systems that either directly impact the state or from moisture of remnant tropical systems that may impact southeastern United States. A quiet hurricane season will often lead to a drier than normal summer.

There is some evidence we'll be able to make up some of our over 9" deficit. The 6-10 day precipitation outlook from the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) forecasts above normal rainfall for North Carolina. The winter outlook from the CPC forecasts near normal precipitation across the southeast. It appears an El Nino weather pattern will impact conditions across the country this winter. Local research from the National Weather Service Office in Raleigh suggests North Carolina typically experiences above normal rainfall during an El Nino winter.

Thanks to the climate team at the National Weather Service Office in Raleigh for providing the information for today's blog post.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Cold Start to Monday Morning

Temperatures dipped into the 30s across parts of North Carolina early Monday with some frost. Here's a look at low temperatures from around the region --

  • Raleigh-Durham: 34
  • Laurinburg: 35
  • Southern Pines: 36
  • Henderson-Oxford: 37
  • Louisburg: 38
  • Chapel Hill: 39
  • Lumberton: 39
  • Wilson: 39
  • Elizabethtown: 40
  • Goldsboro: 40
  • Whiteville: 40
  • Fayetteville: 41
  • Kenansville: 41
  • Smithfield: 41
  • Jacksonville: 42
  • Wilmington: 42
  • New Bern: 43
  • Oak Island: 43
  • Beaufort: 44
  • Havelock: 44

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Cold Winter Ahead?

Colder than normal temperatures over the last couple of days have people asking about the long range forecast for the winter. Just in time to answer those questions, an updated winter outlook for December through February was released today by NOAA's Climate Prediction Center

The outlook calls for a colder than normal winter for North Carolina and much of the southeast....

and near normal preciptation in North Carolina this winter...

Keep in mind this is a forecast that is made several months in advance. In a winter that's on average colder than normal, there could still be period of mild weather. However, this and other long range forecasts have called for a cold winter 2009-2010.

It is really difficult to speculate if that means a snowy winter is on the way as well. Only time well really answer that question. On average, the Triangle sees about 7 inches of snowfall in a winter. Snowfall amounts during a winter can certainly vary though. Some years the area sees no snow at all. Then there was January 2000 when parts of the Triangle had over 20".

Meet the Weather Team at the Fair!

It's State Fair time again! The North Carolina State Fair opens October 15 and runs through October 25. If you're spending some time at the fair this year, be sure to stop by the Time Warner Cable and News 14 Carolina tent and say hello. Our tent is located near the Dorton Arena. Meteorologists, anchors, and sportscasters will be there during select times!

Here's when you can meet News 14 Carolina meteorologists at the fair --
  • Thursday, October 15 6pm - 9pm: Gary Stephenson
  • Friday, October 16 12pm - 3pm: Joshua McKinney
  • Saturday, October 17 11am - 2pm: Pati Darak
  • Monday, October 19 1pm - 4pm: Lee Ringer
  • Tuesday, October 20 1pm - 4pm: Lee Ringer
  • Friday, October 23 12pm - 3pm: Joshua McKinney
  • Saturday, October 24 9am - 12pm: Gary Stephenson

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Afternoon Update

No real surprises have taken place today across Central and Eastern North Carolina. We've been talking about a wetter and colder than average stretch of days beginning today through the end of the week. So far, that's on track.

I would agree it's a shock to the system to go from wearing shorts and t-shirts to sweaters and coats in as little as 24 hours! Rainfall totals have been light with RDU International showing 0.06" and Fayetteville with 0.07" since Wednesday morning. These totals will move higher as we go through the next several days, but I think we'll avoid any major flooding concerns.

Here are a couple of interesting images I've gathered...

This is an overall look at what's happening at the surface. Winds are blowing out of the Northeast dropping temperatures into the upper 40s from the Triangle north and low 50s in the Sandhills! The cold air wedge has returned to the region and will persist tonight into tomorrow before weakening by Friday. Now, I'm not saying we'll be done with the rain, but temperatures should rebound just a little bit by the end of the week.

This second image is from the visible satellite of the Carolinas. What we're seeing is exactly what you and I are looking at, just from opposite sides. On the ground we're looking at the belly of a thick blanket of clouds with showers, but from up top we see just how much real estate is being consumed by clouds this Wednesday.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Added Thoughts....

Great blog post from Lee Ringer earlier this morning alerting us to a wetter and COLDER period as we head toward the weekend! I wanted to post some images to show how much rain is possible as well as how cool it may be by Friday. I agree that it's going to look and feel a lot like winter time around here Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday in Central and Eastern North Carolina.

What you're seeing here is possible rainfall totals from Wednesday through Friday. There's a good bet the Deep South is looking at another round of flooding from Central Georgia into Northern Mississippi. Specifically for North Carolina the Sandhills to the Coast is in line for the heaviest rain and may receive upwards to an inch or two before weeks end. This will go a long way in denting the drought for the state.

This secondary map gives an indication of afternoon readings we can expect through the second half of the week especially for Friday. If you look at RDU it shows a high in the mid to upper 40s! The last time RDU recorded afternoon highs in the 40s was March 25th of this year. It may not be until early next week before highs return to the low 70s.

Big Weather Changes Ahead!

While you enjoy the sunny and warm afternoon today, you may want to find that winter coat you put away many months ago. Much colder and wet weather is on the way through the rest of the week. The Triangle is 8.5" behind in rainfall for the year, so the rain will be welcomed but it will come with temperatures that are more typical for January than mid-October.

Colder air will wedge its way into North Carolina tonight as a Canadian high pressure system builds to the north. At the same time, a wave of low pressure will track across the southeast. Cloudy conditions and rain from that wave of low pressure will overrun the colder air across the Carolinas. Wednesday morning with start with temperatures in the low 50s. As the rain sets in during the day, look for temperatures to drop into the mid to upper 40s in the afternoon across the Triangle and the upper 40s to near 50 in the Sandhills. The coast will gradually warm to near 60 and the low 60s.

The cloudy, cold and wet weather pattern likely won't change much through the rest of the week. Thursday will be cloudy with drizzle with more rain expected Friday. Once temperatures drop into the 40s Wednesday afternoon, they may not climb above the 40s until Saturday afternoon around the Triangle. The Sandhills may see see highs in the low 50s while the coast will be in the 50s for much of the day on Thursday and Friday.

Stay tuned to Weather on the Ones for the most updates on the big weather changes this week.