Looking Glass Falls

March 2009

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North Carolina Climate, the monthly newsletter of the State Climate Office of NC, covers a monthly climate summary for February with impacts to agriculture and water resources, new SCO staff, and new ECONet sites.
PDF version available for printing.

 

Continued Cool & Dry with just a Tease of Spring

Most of North Carolina was cool and dry during February 2009. Colder than normal temperatures were most common in western and eastern NC, while many locations in central NC experienced above- or near-normal temperatures for the month. Although the average temperatures for the entire month were below-normal for much of NC, the 2nd week of February brought warm temperatures to much of the state. Most cities in central and eastern NC experience 5-6 days with maximum temperatures over 70°F, and many mountain locations had high temperatures near 70°F.

However, dry conditions were observed across the entire state. Indeed, only a handful of official gages across the state reported above-normal precipitation for February 2009, and of these only Cape Hatteras reported amounts that were much above normal (+1.62 inches or 140% of normal).

Departures from Normal
Temperature and Precipitation by climate division
Departures from Normal for February 2009 - based on preliminary data.

 

Impacts to Agriculture and Water Resources

While dry conditions that began in January continued through February, impacts to water resources and agriculture were minimal. Topsoil moisture was adequate for the winter grains that are still in production, and minima evaporation rate during this time of year ensure that most precipitation that falls goes into recharge for soils and water supply systems. However, there was some expansion of drought impacts in western NC, and also in the far eastern parts of the State. The impacts were almost exclusive to water supply systems. While stream flow and groundwater levels continue to be quite low for this time of the year in western NC, low demand for water resources has so far kept water supply systems from experiencing problems. Water table levels at monitoring wells in eastern NC near New Bern and Edenton showed near record low levels. Fortunately, few communities in eastern NC rely on this shallow groundwater for supplies. Still, the data provided by these wells are excellent indicators of potential problems as we move into spring. This pattern is shown in changes in the US Drought Monitor depictions for NC.

 

Change in US Drought Monitoring Status during February 2009
Provided by the NC DENR Division of Water Resources

February 2009 Drought

 

State Climate Office Welcomes New Staff!

Sean HeuserSean Heuser — Instrumentation Technician
Sean began as a full-time staff member in November 2008, but has previously worked with the SCO to evaluate the skill of climate models between 1950 and 1998 for temperature and precipitation across North Carolina. Scheduled to complete his masters degree this spring, his graduate research focuses on the effect long term changes in vegetation have on the glacial mass balance atop Mt. Kilimanjaro. Sean currently assists with the installation and maintenance of ECONet stations across North Carolina, and has been comparing precipitation values measured by tipping bucket rain gauges to those measured by all-weather sensors recently deployed at some of our ECONet sites. In the near future, Sean will also be working with other SCO staff to improve and enhance quality control for weather and climate data in the CRONOS database.


John McGuireJohn McGuire — Developer and Environmental Meteorologist
John began as a full-time SCO employee in January 2009, however he has been working for the climate office over the last couple of years as an undergraduate student, and most recently, as a graduate student. His graduate research focuses on the feasibility and construction of a high-resolution mesoscale reanalysis of North Carolina. As a staff member, he is involved in the development of web applications and decision-support tools for communities sensitive to weather and climate. Currently John is putting together an automated frost/freeze decision-support tool for strawberry growers, which will give guidance regarding particular actions to take in the event of a frost or freeze, such as implementing row covers or irrigation. He is also helping develop a tool for cucurbits (cucumbers, pumpkins, etc.) that implements climate data and modeling to determine the dispersion of downy mildew spores. John is also creating a climate perspective product for the Southeast Regional Climate Center that puts current conditions in a historical and spatial context.

 

New ECONet Sites

Over the past few months, the State Climate Office has constructed several new ECONet stations across North Carolina.

Mount Mitchell State Park (MITC)
Location: Burnsville, Yancey County
Installed in June 2008; supported by NC DENR Air Quality

Williamsdale Field Lab (WILD)
Location: Wallace, Duplin County
Installed in September 2008; supported by NC Agricultural Research Service

Taylorsville Tower (TAYL)
Location: Taylorsville, Alexander County
Installed in November 2008; supported by Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI) and MCNC

Burnsville Tower (BURN)
Location: Burnsville, Yancey County
Installed in December 2008; supported by Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI) and MCNC

Another station, supported by the City of Durham, was installed in February 2009 in Durham County. Observations for this station are not yet available, but will be coming in soon.

 

Statewide Summary for February 2009

As part of the monthly newsletter, the SCO provides a basic summary of monthly conditions for all locations that have an automated reporting station. A daily version of this product is available online at:
http://www.nc-climate.ncsu.edu/cronos/review

Station
Avg Daily
Max Temp
Avg Daily
Min Temp
Total
Rainfall
Avg Daily
Wind Speed
Max Daily
Wind Speed
Vector Avg
Wind Speed
Aurora, NC (AURO)
55.8° F
(+0.3° F)
4 mi
34.9° F
(+1.5° F)
4 mi
1.6 in
5.6 mph
25.3 mph
2 mph
West (278°)
Boone, NC (BOON)
45.5° F
(+3° F)
1 mi
26.5° F
(+4.9° F)
1 mi
1.8 in
8.1 mph
40.2 mph
5.7 mph
West (277°)
Buckland, NC (BUCK)
55.7° F
(+3.8° F)
15 mi
29.9° F
(+1.2° F)
15 mi
1.4 in
3.2 mph
25.5 mph
1.4 mph
West Southwest (255°)
Burnsville, NC (MITC)
35.3° F
(-0.9° F)
1 mi
20.6° F
(+1.9° F)
1 mi
2.2 in
22.2 mph
74.3 mph
20.1 mph
West (277°)
Burnsville, NC (BURN)
49° F
(-0.3° F)
8 mi
26.3° F
(+3.1° F)
8 mi
1.6 in
5.6 mph
38.9 mph
3.4 mph
Northwest (307°)
Castle Hayne, NC (CAST)
57.8° F
(-1.5° F)
0 mi
36.3° F
(+1° F)
0 mi
1.6 in
4.6 mph
26.9 mph
2.1 mph
West Northwest (287°)
Clayton, NC (CLAY)
54.9° F
(+1.1° F)
3 mi
34.2° F
(+4.3° F)
3 mi
1.7 in
7.6 mph
29.7 mph
3.7 mph
West (265°)
Clayton, NC (CLA2)
56.5° F
(+2.7° F)
3 mi
30.3° F
(+0.4° F)
3 mi
2.4 in
4 mph
21.1 mph
1.8 mph
West (278°)
Clinton, NC (CLIN)
56.1° F
(0° F)
0 mi
33.8° F
(-0.1° F)
0 mi
2.1 in
5.6 mph
26 mph
2.1 mph
West (261°)
Fletcher, NC (FLET)
51.2° F
(+1.1° F)
0 mi
24.7° F
(-0.6° F)
0 mi
1 in
5.3 mph
24.9 mph
2.9 mph
North Northwest (346°)
Franklin, NC (WINE)
42.6° F
(-9.9° F)
11 mi
24.6° F
(-1° F)
11 mi
2.9 in
10.2 mph
32 mph
6.7 mph
West Northwest (286°)
Frying Pan Mountain, NC (FRYI)
42.6° F
(-7° F)
10 mi
22° F
(-2.7° F)
10 mi
0 in
12.1 mph
50.4 mph
7.6 mph
West Southwest (251°)
Goldsboro, NC (GOLD)
55.8° F
(-1.8° F)
5 mi
32.2° F
(-3.2° F)
5 mi
2.3 in
7.5 mph
29.6 mph
2.9 mph
Southwest (220°)
Greensboro, NC (NCAT)
54.4° F
(+2.7° F)
12 mi
32.1° F
(+1.5° F)
12 mi
1.5 in
5.3 mph
28.2 mph
2.7 mph
West (266°)
Hamlet, NC (HAML)
58° F
(+0.4° F)
4 mi
33.4° F
(+3.1° F)
4 mi
2.2 in
5.7 mph
26.8 mph
2 mph
West Southwest (255°)
Hendersonville, NC (BEAR)
41.8° F
(-10.9° F)
7 mi
25.4° F
(-2.6° F)
7 mi
1.8 in
17.6 mph
53.9 mph
12.2 mph
Northeast (39°)
High Point, NC (HIGH)
54.2° F
(-0.5° F)
2 mi
30.8° F
(-1.3° F)
2 mi
1.6 in
4.1 mph
20.3 mph
2.1 mph
West (271°)
Jackson Springs, NC (JACK)
55.1° F
(+1° F)
0 mi
33.9° F
(+0.8° F)
0 mi
2.6 in
7.5 mph
30.3 mph
2.3 mph
West (273°)
Kinston, NC (KINS)
56.3° F
(-3.6° F)
5 mi
34.2° F
(-0.3° F)
5 mi
1.7 in
6.9 mph
32.8 mph
3.1 mph
West Southwest (252°)
Laurel Springs, NC (LAUR)
45.3° F
(+1.1° F)
1 mi
24.8° F
(+3.7° F)
1 mi
1.7 in
6.6 mph
41.1 mph
3.9 mph
West Northwest (297°)
Lewiston, NC (LEWS)
55° F
(+0.9° F)
0 mi
32.5° F
(+1° F)
0 mi
1.7 in
7.8 mph
35.1 mph
3.7 mph
West (265°)
Lilesville, NC (LILE)
57.5° F
(+1.5° F)
9 mi
35.8° F
(+1.7° F)
9 mi
1.8 in
5.1 mph
27.3 mph
2.2 mph
West Southwest (255°)
Oxford, NC (OXFO)
53.7° F
(+1.6° F)
0 mi
32.5° F
(+3.5° F)
0 mi
1.4 in
5.8 mph
31.8 mph
5.8 mph
North (3°)
Plymouth, NC (PLYM)
55.3° F
(-2.3° F)
2 mi
30.2° F
(-4.2° F)
2 mi
1.3 in
9.5 mph
32.2 mph
4.2 mph
West Northwest (287°)
Raleigh, NC (LAKE)
55.4° F
(-0.3° F)
0 mi
33.7° F
(-0.3° F)
0 mi
1.5 in
6.9 mph
31.2 mph
3.7 mph
West (274°)
Raleigh, NC (REED)
55° F
(+2° F)
3 mi
34.6° F
(+2.3° F)
3 mi
1.3 in
6.3 mph
31.3 mph
3.4 mph
West Northwest (286°)
Reidsville, NC (REID)
52.8° F
(+1.7° F)
0 mi
32.7° F
(+3.2° F)
0 mi
0 in
7.3 mph
27.8 mph
4.4 mph
West Northwest (287°)
Rocky Mount, NC (ROCK)
55.3° F
(+0.8° F)
0 mi
32.8° F
(+0.1° F)
0 mi
1.8 in
7 mph
31.8 mph
3 mph
West (261°)
Salisbury, NC (SALI)
54.9° F
(+2.4° F)
0 mi
29.9° F
(+1.6° F)
0 mi
0 in
5.2 mph
26.2 mph
2.3 mph
West Northwest (283°)
Siler City, NC (SILR)
54.6° F
(+1° F)
5 mi
28.4° F
(-2.7° F)
5 mi
1 in
6.1 mph
28.2 mph
3.2 mph
West (279°)
Taylorsville, NC (TAYL)
53.3° F
29.9° F
2 in
3.4 mph
53 mph
1.6 mph
West (279°)
Wallace, NC (WILD)
57.5° F
(-3.2° F)
8 mi
32.7° F
(-3.9° F)
8 mi
2.1 in
5.8 mph
39.6 mph
2.1 mph
West (275°)
Waynesville, NC (WAYN)
51.1° F
(+0.6° F)
0 mi
25.4° F
(+1.3° F)
0 mi
2.9 in
4.7 mph
35.1 mph
0.5 mph
West Southwest (240°)
Whiteville, NC (WHIT)
58° F
(-1.9° F)
0 mi
33° F
(-1.4° F)
0 mi
1.7 in
4.8 mph
25.1 mph
1.8 mph
West (276°)
Williamston, NC (WILL)
56.2° F
(+1.2° F)
4 mi
33.5° F
(-0.1° F)
4 mi
1.4 in
5.2 mph
26.7 mph
2.6 mph
West (267°)
Legend:
Parameter
Parameter's value approximated from hourly data.
( +/- Departure from normal )
Distance to reference station

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