Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Is the Groundhog's Forecast Correct?

Groundhogs across the country made their forecast for the rest of winter yesterday. The best known groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil from Pennsylvania saw his shadow predicting six more weeks of winter. North Carolina's own Sir Walter Wally did not agree. He did not see his shadow yesterday at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science and predicted an early spring. After last weekend's winter storm, I have heard from a lot of folks that are hoping "Sir Walter's" forecast is the correct one this year. While he supposedly has a better track record than Punxsutawney Phil, it appears Phil's forecast may be the correct one this year.

The one month outlook from the Climate Prediction Center forecasts calls for February with below normal temperatures and above average precipitation in North Carolina. The main reason for this forecast is the continuation of an El Nino weather pattern that we have experienced since the start of winter. Model trends certainly indicate the first half of February will be on the cold side.

A colder and wetter than normal forecast also brings up the question: Does that mean more snow is on the way? It is certainly possible. On average, North Carolina records more snow in February than in month of the year.

Earlier this week several computer models forecast another winter storm to impact North Carolina this weekend. Forecasts have changed since then and we do not expect this storm to produce winter weather across all of the state like last weekend's storm. However, some parts of the state will see winter precipitation with the best chance for snow and a wintry mix in the mountains Friday and Saturday.

In our part of North Carolina, the precipitation may start early Friday morning as a wintry mix from Raleigh to the north and west. This should be light with a quick changeover to all rain during the day. The wintry mix or freezing rain will last longer Friday morning for locations around the Triad. A cold rain will be the big story for Friday in our area with an inch or more possible through Friday night. Light rain showers may continue into Saturday and could changeover to snow flurries from Raleigh to the north. Precipitation totals after the changeover would be very light with little to no accumulation expected except for a dusting possible north of Raleigh and higher amounts possible into Virginia.

There may be yet another weather system to watch for Tuesday of next week. We'll keep you posted. Stay tuned to News 14 Carolina and

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