Monday, February 28, 2011

Chance for Storms Monday Evening

Today is starting unusually warm for the final day of February. Morning temperatures in the 60s should return to near 80 in many spots by afternoon. RDU should break its record high of 80 for the date. Wilmington should fall just shy of its record of 85 this afternoon. This warm air is building in ahead of an approaching storm system that has already produced severe storms early this morning in parts of Kentucky and Tennessee. Some of these storms could move our way through the late afternoon and evening hours.

Before the storms arrive, look for windy weather through the afternoon. Winds will be sustained from the southwest at 15 to 25 mph but could gust up to 40mph at times. A Wind Advisory is in effect through the afternoon for the Triangle and Sandhills.

Look for showers and strong storms to move across the mountains this afternoon. It appears the storms may lose some of their intensity east of the mountains, but a few strong storms are still possible here by evening. The greatest threat from any strong storms will come from damaging winds. The storms should move east of the Triangle and Sandhills by around midnight and will be moving off the coast by around 2-3am.

This system will certainly not provide a drought busting soaking rain that is needed in many parts of our region. Rainfall totals should range from between 0.1" and 0.3". Slightly higher totals are possible in stronger storms.

Cooler and dry weather will move in for tomorrow. After tonight, our next chance for rain isn't expected until the weekend.

Lee Ringer
News 14 Carolina Meteorologist

Friday, February 11, 2011

Are We Done with Winter Weather?

After what has been an active and cold winter, a prolonged warm up is ahead for next week! Highs will likely reach the 60s for much of the week with 70s possible by late week. There are signs that the warm weather will stick around for much of the rest of February. The 6-10 day and 8-14 day temperature outlooks from the Climate Prediction Center both show warmer than warmer temperatures for the Carolinas --

Even though an early taste of spring is on the way, we can't say that we are totally done with the bitter cold of winter. After all, cold weather is not unheard of in North Carolina during March. We also can't say we are done with snow for the season. There are several examples of snow across the state during the month of March. In fact, it has snowed across much of North Carolina during the first two days of March the last two years:

Even larger snows have occurred later in March including an 8" snowfall just east of Raleigh March 24-25, 1983.

One of the largest snowfalls on record for northeastern North Carolina occurred March 1-2, 1981. That storm produced over 2 feet of snow in the northeast corner of the state, nearly a foot in parts of the Triangle, and over a foot just inland from the Crystal Coast.

The forecast for March 2011 is uncertain at this time. We'll wait and see if the cold returns. In the meantime, enjoy the spring-like temperatures over the next week or two!

Lee Ringer
News 14 Carolina Meteorologist

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Snow Chances for Early Thursday Morning

Light snow will spread into central North Carolina late Wednesday night into early Thursday morning. The precipitation may start during that time as light rain closer to the coast. Much of eastern North Carolina will transition to snow through the early morning hours.

Some accumulation is possible with the best chance for snow accumulations east and southeast of Raleigh. Across the Triangle, look for a trace (not even a dusting) to 1". Near I-95 from Fayetteville to Wilson and Goldsboro, 1-3" of snow is possible, but the higher end of that range may come just east of those areas. The highest snow totals may come from near Jacksonville Havelock, and Morehead City to Greenville and Elizabeth City where 2-5" is possible. Along the southeast coast near Wilmington, temperatures may hover just above freezing, so little to no accumulation is expected especially along the immediate southeast coast.

Any snow will end from the west to the east through the morning. The snow may taper off as early as around daybreak in the Triangle to late morning and midday along the coast. Skies will clear in the Triangle and Sandhills by afternoon with some limited sun by afternoon at the coast. Temperatures should warm to at least the low 40s in the afternoon.

Stay tuned to News 14 Carolina for the latest updates.

Lee Ringer
News 14 Carolina Meteorologist

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Light Snow Possible Thursday Morning

Low pressure off the Carolina coast late Wednesday night into Thursday morning may produce light snow in parts of our area. Precipitation totals look light at this time with the best chance of any accumulation coming near I-95 and locations to the east to the coast. This area including Fayetteville, Wilson, Goldsboro, Morehead City, and Wilmington could see anywhere from just a dusting to up to 2 inches in some spots. Closer to the Triangle any snowfall should be light enough to where little to no accumulation is expected, although just a dusting cannot be ruled out.

Temperatures early Thursday morning will drop to just below freezing around the Triangle and Sandhills to near freezing along the coast but should warm to at least the low 40s Thursday afternoon. Any snow should end by mid-morning across eastern North Carolina.

A change in the expected track and strength in low pressure off our coast could change our current forecast. Stay tuned to Weather on the Ones on News 14 Carolina for updates.

Lee Ringer
News 14 Carolina Meteorologist

Monday, February 07, 2011

What We are Watching This Week

This week should be an interesting week of weather in North Carolina. It starts with low pressure tracking from near the Gulf coast this morning to off the Carolina coast later today and tonight. That will bring rain to the coast by this afternoon. The rain should spread inland through late afternoon and evening. Coastal areas should see about 1" of rain with lower amounts inland. The Triangle and Sandhills may see less than 0.25" with the possibility that areas in the northwest Triangle may not see much in the way of measurable rain. Clearing is expected by early Tuesday morning.

Somewhat cooler weather returns for Tuesday and Wednesday. We'll watch another area of low pressure develop near the Gulf coast Wednesday and track off the Carolina coast by Thursday. Computer models have shown a lot of variability in the track and strength of this low in their forecasts since late last week. Some snow is possible in parts of the state late Wednesday night into Thursday, but amounts and locations of snowfall will all be determined by the track of the low. Models have been trending toward lighter amounts of precipitation. It is really too early to make any definite calls on the Thursday forecast. We'll have to continue to watch model trends and should have a better handle on Thursday's forecast by tomorrow and Wednesday.

For those of you tired of the cold winter weather, a warm up is on the way starting this weekend. Friday looks chilly, but temperatures should steadily warm through the weekend. Much of next week could feature temperatures above normal for a change.

Lee Ringer
News 14 Carolina Meteorologist

Friday, February 04, 2011

Needed Rain

The new drought monitor released Thursday upgraded parts of central North Carolina to a severe drought. Fortunately, much needed rainfall will fall through today, tonight, and into early Saturday. Coastal North Carolina is the only part of the state that is not considered to be at least "abnormally dry." The coast will see the most rain with this storm system with 1 to 2 inches of rain possible. Central North Carolina including the Triangle and Sandhills should see between 0.5" and 1" with localized amounts over an inch around Fayetteville and east of the Triangle.
Today's rain certainly is a cold rain with temperatures holding in the 30s through the day around the Triangle and highs only in the mid 40s along the coast. Milder weather is ahead for the weekend as the rain ends. Highs should return to the 50s for Saturday and Sunday.

More rain chances are coming up next week. A few light showers are possible late Monday or early Tuesday, but the better rain chances look to come late Wednesday into Thursday. Computer models are showing a lot of uncertainty for the forecast from Wednesday into Thursday. It appears low pressure will track from near the Gulf coast to the Carolinas. At this point, it looks like the precipitation would be mainly rain for the Triangle and the Sandhills to the coast, but we'll have to watch the track of that system closely over the coming days.

Lee Ringer
News 14 Carolina Meteorologist

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Should We Trust the Groundhog's Forecast?

Happy Groundhog Day! It's the one day of year that many people listen to the weather forecast of a rodent. There are many different groundhogs making their predictions across the country today, but the best known groundhog is Punxsutawney Phil of Pennsylvania. Phil made his prediction around sunrise this morning when he did not see his shadow. According to folklore, that means an early spring. Punxsutawney Phil does not have a very good track record though with an accuracy rate of only 39%.

North Carolina's own groundhog, Sir Walter Wally has a better track record than Phil. He will make his forecast at noon today in Raleigh. It has been a cloudy start to Groundhog Day in Raleigh, but the clouds should break some around midday. Sir Walter Wally may just see his shadow predicting six more weeks of winter.

What do the long range forecasts from meteorologists say about the rest of winter? The February forecast from the Climate Prediction Center shows equal chances of above normal and below normal temperatures in the Carolinas. While we have had a few warmer days in the last week, it will not stay warm. Below normal afternoon highs will return to the Carolinas tomorrow and Friday. After a few days into early next week of near to above normal temperatures, colder weather looks to return around the middle of next week.

It is tough to say if the cold winter weather we have experienced so far this winter will stick around for the next six weeks. It's best to take long range forecasts with a grain of salt anyway -- whether that forecast is from a groundhog or a human meteorologist. You may remember the long range forecast for this winter was for warmer than average temperatures and drier than normal conditions. That warmer part of that forecast has certainly not worked out. The drier forecast has been more accurate. Since December, Raleigh-Durham is 3.43" behind in rainfall. Wilmington was about 2" behind for January.

Lee Ringer
News 14 Carolina Meteorologist