Monday, January 30, 2012

What's ahead for February?

It has been a mild winter, so far, and that mild winter will continue into the first day of February. Highs are likely to reach near 70 in much of central and eastern North Carolina Wednesday. However, there are now signs we could be in for a pattern change to colder weather beginning around this weekend or next week.

With the coming pattern change, computer models have had a difficult time with the forecast for the weekend. At this time, it appears we could be in for a dreary weekend with a cool rain. That forecast is subject to change though as we hope computer models will come into better agreement for the weekend forecast over the coming days.

Beyond this upcoming weekend, the Climate Prediction Center's 8 to 14 day outlook calls for below normal temperatures for much of the eastern United States including the Carolinas --

While we expect colder weather as we get closer to the middle of February (around 2/5 - 2/12), it is uncertain how long that cold weather will stay. The Climate Prediction Center still shows the month of February warmer than normal on average. With no measurable snowfall yet this winter in our part of North Carolina, I still get asked, "Will it snow this winter?" As I post this Monday morning (1/30), there is no snow in our 7-day forecast. Beyond that, it is still too early to speculate on any snow chances for February. Keep in mind, snow can still fall in our part of North Carolina into March. We'll just have to wait to see what the next several weeks bring.

Stay tuned to News 14 Carolina and Weather on the Ones for the latest on your local forecast!

Lee Ringer
News 14 Carolina Meteorologist

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

12 Years Ago: Record Snow in the Triangle

If you were in North Carolina January 25, 2000, you probably remember the day well. A snow storm blanketed much of central North Carolina with over a foot of snow. Nearly 2 feet of snow fell in parts of the Triangle. The official snowfall from the night of January 24 through January 25 at the Raleigh-Durham Airport was 20.3". That is the all time record snowfall from one storm for Raleigh-Durham.

The heavy snow in January 2000 was a surprise to many. Computer models did not do a good job forecasting the storm even 24 hours before the snow began. Many local forecasts were only calling for a few inches of snow the morning of January 24. Forecast totals increased through the day but did not come close to the 20" actual snowfall.

Over the last twelve years, a lot of research has been done on my that storm was not well forecast. Much of that research has been done locally at North Carolina State University. That research has improved the computer models we use to forecast today.

Click here to read more about the January 2000 storm.

Lee Ringer
News 14 Carolina Meteorologist

Friday, January 20, 2012

Up and Down Weekend

Hang on... we're in for a roller coaster ride when it comes to temperatures this weekend. We'll start mild and end up chilly. Milder air will build into the state late tonight as a warm front lifts to the north. That will bring temperatures well into the 60s Saturday. Some areas in southeastern North Carolina could easily hit 70.

A few showers will spread into the state with the warm front tonight. We'll look for a break from any rain through most of Saturday morning with the exception of a few sprinkles or an isolated shower. Nore widespread rain will arrive by Saturday afternoon and night. That more widespread rain will come ahead of a cold front that will move through the state late Saturday.

Much cooler air will wedge its way into central North Carolina behind the cold front Sunday. That will keep temperatures in the 40s all day in the Triangle along with clouds and drizzle. Highs will struggle to make it to the low 50s in the Sandhills and should reach the upper 50s near the coast.

Milder weather will return Monday when highs again will soar well into the 60s with some spots hitting 70 in southeastern North Carolina.

Be sure to stay tuned to News 14 Carolina for updates on the forecast through the weekend.

Lee Ringer
News 14 Carolina Meteorologist

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

What's Ahead for the Rest of January?

Our up and down temperature roller coaster continues this week in North Carolina, but it appears we may be going up more than coming down through the rest of this month. Just check out the 6 to 10 day and 8 to 14 day temperature outlook from the Climate Prediction Center --

Both show temperatures above normal for much of the U.S. including here in the Carolinas.

In the short term, it will be a bit chilly the middle of this week. I am not expecting bitter cold but lows should drop to the 20s Thursday morning.

Temperatures will then be on the rise by the weekend with highs in the 60s. Most all indications are the warm up will continue into next week. We may be asking, "has spring arrived?" through the first half of next week. An early look at the forecast for next week shows some spots making it to at least 70 by around Tuesday or Wednesday.

We likely won't stay that warm though for the rest of winter. There are some indications we will turn colder around the last day or two of January or the first few days of February.

For those asking about snow, I don't see any chances for our part of North Carolina over the next week or two. It is still much to early to speculate on any snow chances for February or March. Stay tuned!

Lee Ringer
News 14 Carolina Meteorologist

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Chilly This Weekend, But Will It Last?

We are about to move into what is typically the coldest time of the year for North Carolina (mid to late January). Right on cue, colder air will spread into the Carolinas for Friday and the weekend. Temperatures will return to near and below normal levels for a few days. However, there are signs that this cold snap will not last long.

Most of central and eastern North Carolina can expect highs in the mid 40s to near 50 this weekend with lows in the mid 20s to near 30, but highs will return to the 50s with some spots approaching 60 by Tuesday. The above normal temperatures may continue beyond the middle of the week. The latest 6 to 10 day and 8 to 14 day forecasts from the Climate Prediction Center both show above normal temperatures across the southeast --

Overall, I don't see any significant changes to the weather pattern so far this winter - mostly mild with short cold snaps on occasion.

After above normal snowfall last winter, many people are still asking about snow for this winter. While a snow forecast more than a day or two ahead is never a guarantee in our part of North Carolina, I don't see any snow chances over the next one to two weeks. There's still plenty of time for snow to pop up in the forecast. We still must get through February and early March, but our current weather pattern will have to change for much of a snow chance around here this winter.

Lee Ringer
News 14 Carolina Meteorologist

Monday, January 09, 2012

Heavier Rain for Wednesday

Occasional light showers will continue across our area today, but heavier rain is our forecast for the middle of this week. A storm system that is producing much needed rainfall across Texas today will eventually spread that rain across the Carolinas Wednesday.

Around 0.1" of rain or less is expected today, but at least 1.0" of rain is expected Wednesday across most of North Carolina. That will be welcome rain especially for the moderate drought areas of southeastern North Carolina.

We'll have to watch for the threat for a few embedded thunderstorms with the rain Wednesday afternoon and evening. While it appears to be a low risk, severe storms cannot be ruled out. We'll keep you posted with our latest forecasts on News 14 Carolina. Stay tuned!

Lee Ringer
News 14 Carolina Meteorologist

Friday, January 06, 2012

Mild This Weekend; Cold Next Weekend?

If you haven't caught our forecast yet today, the 60s will return this afternoon and tomorrow. In fact, much of our area may be within just a few degrees of 70 on Saturday! This comes just a few days after the coldest weather so far this season. Those highs in the 30s from Tuesday will seem like a distant memory this weekend.

While our temperatures should remain near to above normal most of next week, it will not remain this mild all month. It is January after all. As I briefly mentioned in yesterday's posts, there are now signs another blast of cold air will makes its way into the eastern U.S. around the middle of this month. That will likely bring below normal temperatures back to North Carolina next weekend. Based on this morning's model data, I would think we should begin to feel that cold blast around next Saturday and Sunday (January 14-15).

You can see the Climate Prediction Center has outlined much of the southeast including the Carolinas for below normal temperatures in the current 6 to 10 day outlook --

For more on the specifics in our forecast over the coming days, be sure to check in for our latest Weather on the Ones updates on News 14 Carolina.

Hope you have a great weekend!

Lee Ringer
News 14 Carolina Meteorologist

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Will It Snow This Winter?

Will it snow this winter? That is a question I have heard a lot over the last couple of months. It is also a question that cannot be answered just yet...

This time last winter we had all seen snow at least once. That included the day after Christmas snowfall when just over a foot of snow fell near Wilson. The last two winters have featured above normal snowfall for most of our area, but we are not able to use that to make any forecasts for the current winter.

So far, we have mostly been in a mild weather pattern this winter and have yet to see any measurable snow. In a mild winter, we can still have cold snaps just like earlier this week. To produce snow, that cold air just has to phase up with a moisture source. That did not happen this week, but that does not mean it will not happen later. This winter season is young after all. There are a few examples of big snows in North Carolina as late as March.

It is pretty much impossible to forecast snowfall more than a few days ahead in our area. I can say with some certainty that there is no snow expected over the next week. Our temperatures will be climbing back to above normal levels for this time of year over the next few days. There are some early signs that we could be in for another cold blast around the middle of this month. It is just much too early to speculate whether or not that will phase up with any moisture to produce snow.

Again this winter season is still young, so stay tuned!

Lee Ringer
News 14 Carolina Meteorologist

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Arctic Blast Will Be Short Lived

The last two winters were cold ones for the Carolinas. If you recall, when we had a blast of Arctic air the last couple of winters, the cold air stuck around for a while. That is a different story for our current cold snap.

Just take a look at the 6 to 10 day temperature outlook from the Climate Prediction Center...

Above normal temperatures are forecast to return to much of the country in that outlook. The warm up here in the Carolinas should be a fairly big warm up by the weekend. We'll see the coldest temperatures of our current Arctic blast Wednesday morning when lows may drop to the upper teens in some areas. Highs Wednesday will climb to the 40s, but those highs should return to near 60 by Friday and the low to mid 60s Saturday.

In addition to the milder weather, dry weather is on our forecast the next several days. A few rain showers will be possible by late Saturday night and Sunday. The forecast does become uncertain into next week as models are not in agreement on rain chances for the first few days of the week. Stay tuned for updates in our Weather on the Ones forecast.

Lee Ringer

News 14 Carolina Meteorologist