Lake Junaluska

March 2012 Climate Update

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North Carolina Climate, the monthly newsletter of the State Climate Office of NC, covers a brief overview of recent changes to the SCO home page and website, information on the CoCoRaHS Network, a monthly climate summary for February and seasonal climate summary for the winter with impacts across the state, and a climate outlook of the upcoming spring.
PDF version available for printing.

 

SCO Website Additions and Updates

We are pleased to announce several updates and enhancements to our website. These changes are in response to comments and requests from many of you. A video tour of the new homepage can be found here:
http://www.nc-climate.ncsu.edu/first-visit

Homepage changes and enhancements:

  1. We are on twitter! Our homepage features our twitter feed which includes NC climate updates and highlights of new data sets or products. If you're a twitter user, we invite you to follow @NCSCO
  2. Several featured products are rotating on the homepage. These will be changed throughout the year as new products are released or others are especially relevant to recent climatic events.
  3. The most popular destinations on our website are now quick links on the homepage. One of these is a link to video tours of the homepage and data retrieval. We'll be adding new videos soon to eventually include one for each of our products.
  4. Our homepage now features a small map with current conditions from the ECONet. The plotted parameter can easily be changed by selecting another beneath the map. More data are available from the region by going to the larger map.
  5. If you want to quickly retrieve data from a station and know its ID, the quick station query found under the map is for you. It allows for rapid data retrieval from any station in the CRONOS database.

We also made some changes and enhancements to other pages on our website:

  1. Our menu system has changed. The menus are expanded to include almost everything. Now, nearly every product and data set is accessible from any page.
  2. If you can't find what you're looking for, try the new Google search box at the top right of our website. It will search our entire site.
  3. The landing pages for our product theme areas have changed to be more helpful. For example, the Weather and Climate page (http://www.nc-climate.ncsu.edu/products/wx) now lists each of the related products in a matrix-like table. Hovering over a product will give you a brief description.
  4. To see all available products and data sets, check out this link: http://www.nc-climate.ncsu.edu/allproducts.php

We hope you find our updates helpful. Please give us a call, send an email, or tweet if you have any questions or feedback.

 

What's the Weather in Your Backyard?

When you hear the rainfall amount from the official gage, have you ever said, "That's not what I got!!" We want you to tell us what you experience through CoCoRaHS. CoCoRaHS – an acronym for the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network – is a unique, non-profit, community-based network of volunteers of all ages and backgrounds working together to measure and map precipitation (rain, hail and snow). By using low-cost measurement tools, stressing training and education, and utilizing an interactive website, the aim is to provide the highest quality data for natural resource, education and research applications. Weather enthusiasts and professionals around the nation, including National Weather Service and the State Climate Office, use CoCoRaHS rain and weather impact reports.

CoCoRaHS recently kicked off a webinar series known as CoCoRaHS WxTalk, which consists of a series of monthly one-hour interactive webinars on various aspects of weather and climate. These webinars feature engaging experts in the fields of atmospheric science, climatology and other pertinent disciplines, and involve easy-to-follow live presentations during which audience members are given the chance to submit questions. Be sure to check it out!

We are issuing a special call for home and master gardeners to participate in CoCoRaHS. The national CoCoRaHS partnership has recently created a Climate Resources Guide for Master Gardeners, which is a great way to learn about how climate varies across our nation and why it has such a large influence on the way your garden grows.

Last year, the state of North Carolina won the coveted CoCoRaHS Cup for signing up the most volunteers during March Madness. Help North Carolina keep the Cup in 2012! Learn more about CoCoRaHS on the SCO website or at www.cocorahs.org. Or feel free to call us – we’re Coo-Coo for CoCoRaHS!

 

Climate Summary: Three in a row for warm, dry months

Temperature and Precipitation by climate division
Departures from Normal for February 2012
Based on Preliminary Data
Temperature and Precipitation Departures from Normal

February 2012 continued the winter-long pattern of warm, dry months for North Carolina. Most of the state received less than 1/2 of normal precipitation, and most of the state experienced average temperatures more than 3 degrees F above normal. Overall, statewide average precipitation and temperatures ranked as the 25th driest and 25th warmest since records begin in 1895.

The first (and perhaps only) taste of snow for lower elevations came on February 19-20. There were also several reports of damaging winds and small hail from strong thunderstorm on February 22-23.

Precipitation for February 2012
Based on estimates from NWS Radar
Data courtesy NWS/NCEP
MPE Precipitation


Precipitation for February 2012: Percent of Normal
Based on estimates from NWS Radar
Data courtesy NWS/NCEP
MPE Precipitation Percent of Normal


Local Storm Reports for February 2012
Preliminary Count of LSRs courtesy National Weather Service
http://www.nc-climate.ncsu.edu/lsrdb/index.php
LSR Summary

 

Winter in Review: La Niña brought a very warm & dry winter

Temperature and Precipitation by climate division
Departures from Normal for Winter 2012 (Dec 2011 - Feb 2012)
Based on Preliminary Data
Temperature and Precipitation Departures from Normal

While data is still preliminary, this past winter will likely go down as the 8th warmest and 6th driest on record for North Carolina (statewide data since 1895). Indeed, most of North Carolina has effectively missed out on an entire month's worth of rain. Many locations – including Asheville, Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh, and Wilmington – had average maximum temperatures for the winter that ranked in the top 5 on record.

This pattern is typical of La Niña winters. La Niña events are characterized by below-normal ocean temperatures in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. These cooler ocean temperatures affect atmospheric weather patterns across the globe, and tend to be associated with dry winters especially in central and eastern North Carolina. More about La Niña and its impacts to NC can be found on the Global Patterns page of our website.

 

Impacts to Agriculture and Water Resources

The dry winter has caused much consternation for drought monitors, as this is the time of year water resources are generally recharging but drought impacts are difficult to identify. At the end of February, some reservoirs were still not full. While the lack of drought impacts during this time of year is a primary factor for the current depiction of drought on the US Drought Monitor, the potential for serious problems in spring and summer is growing. We still have time for substantial recovery in soils and water reservoirs this spring, but concern is growing among local, state, and federal agencies with drought responsibilities.


US Drought Monitor for North Carolina
Courtesy NC DENR Division of Water Resources

Drought Monitor

 

Spring Climate Outlook

Temperature Precipitation
Drought Monitor
Figure courtesy of NOAA Climate Prediction Center http://www.cpc.noaa.gov

The outlook for spring suggests more of the same – temperatures are more likely to continue to be above-normal, and precipitation is more likely to be below normal, especially in central and eastern parts of North Carolina.

It's important to note that the dry winter (and expected dry spring) do NOT suggest we will have a dry summer. Indeed, research in the State Climate Office of North Carolina suggests that winter conditions are not good predictors of summer climate. And this is reflected in the official outlooks from the NOAA Climate Prediction Center, which suggest that it is just as likely to be wet this summer as dry.

However, the dry winter and lack of recharge in our water resources does suggest that we are likely to have substantial drought impacts IF the dry conditions continue.

 

Statewide Summary for February 2012

As part of the monthly newsletter, the SCO provides a basic summary of monthly conditions for ECONet stations. A daily version of this product for all locations that have an automated reporting station 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
Aurora, NC (AURO)
58.6° F
(+3.1° F)
4 mi
39.9° F
(+6.5° F)
4 mi
2.7 in
3 mph
24.6 mph
1.2 mph
Northwest (310°)
Buckland, NC (BUCK)
57.1° F
(+5.2° F)
15 mi
33.2° F
(+4.5° F)
15 mi
2.2 in
2.4 mph
20.4 mph
0.8 mph
West (281°)
Burnsville, NC (BURN)
52.9° F
(+3.6° F)
8 mi
30.1° F
(+6.9° F)
8 mi
2.3 in
4.3 mph
38.7 mph
2.5 mph
Northwest (308°)
Castle Hayne, NC (CAST)
61.3° F
(+2° F)
0 mi
38.8° F
(+3.5° F)
0 mi
1.9 in
3.8 mph
24.5 mph
1.4 mph
Northwest (321°)
Clayton, NC (CLAY)
57.7° F
(+3.9° F)
3 mi
37.1° F
(+7.2° F)
3 mi
1.9 in
4.8 mph
31.1 mph
2.2 mph
West Northwest (286°)
Clayton, NC (CLA2)
59.2° F
(+5.4° F)
3 mi
34.6° F
(+4.7° F)
3 mi
3.5 in
2 mph
20.7 mph
1 mph
Northwest (306°)
Clinton, NC (CLIN)
59.5° F
(+3.4° F)
0 mi
37.1° F
(+3.2° F)
0 mi
2 in
4.2 mph
30.1 mph
1.7 mph
South Southeast (166°)
Durham, NC (DURH)
57.8° F
(+4.4° F)
6 mi
33° F
(+3.5° F)
6 mi
2.3 in
3.2 mph
25.9 mph
1.5 mph
West (263°)
Fletcher, NC (FLET)
55.9° F
(+5.8° F)
0 mi
32° F
(+6.7° F)
0 mi
1.5 in
3.1 mph
26 mph
1.5 mph
North Northwest (347°)
Franklin, NC (WINE)
42.3° F
(-10.2° F)
11 mi
26.4° F
(+0.8° F)
11 mi
3.1 in
6 mph
20.3 mph
3.5 mph
West Northwest (289°)
Goldsboro, NC (GOLD)
58.9° F
(+1.3° F)
5 mi
36.1° F
(+0.7° F)
5 mi
2.1 in
3.7 mph
29 mph
1.6 mph
West Southwest (242°)
Greensboro, NC (NCAT)
55.9° F
(+4.2° F)
12 mi
35° F
(+4.4° F)
12 mi
1.9 in
2.6 mph
25.4 mph
1.7 mph
West Southwest (242°)
Hamlet, NC (HAML)
60.6° F
(+3° F)
4 mi
36.3° F
(+6° F)
4 mi
2.3 in
4.4 mph
28.2 mph
1.3 mph
Northwest (321°)
Hendersonville, NC (BEAR)
45.1° F
(-7.6° F)
7 mi
29.9° F
(+1.9° F)
7 mi
1 in
11.6 mph
56.9 mph
7.3 mph
West (280°)
High Point, NC (HIGH)
56.7° F
(+2° F)
2 mi
33.3° F
(+1.2° F)
2 mi
1.7 in
2.5 mph
21.5 mph
1.2 mph
West Northwest (284°)
Jackson Springs, NC (JACK)
57.7° F
(+3.6° F)
0 mi
37.7° F
(+4.6° F)
0 mi
2 in
4.9 mph
29 mph
1.5 mph
West Northwest (298°)
Kinston, NC (KINS)
59° F
(-0.9° F)
0 mi
37.2° F
(+2.7° F)
0 mi
1.7 in
4.7 mph
30.5 mph
1.9 mph
West (271°)
Lewiston, NC (LEWS)
56.8° F
(+2.7° F)
0 mi
35° F
(+3.5° F)
0 mi
2.5 in
5.2 mph
32 mph
2.4 mph
West Northwest (282°)
Lilesville, NC (LILE)
59.7° F
(+3.7° F)
9 mi
38.3° F
(+4.2° F)
9 mi
1.2 in
5 mph
28 mph
2.5 mph
North (358°)
New London, NC (NEWL)
57° F
(+2.3° F)
2 mi
32° F
(+2.4° F)
2 mi
2.1 in
3.4 mph
59.9 mph
1.6 mph
North Northwest (326°)
Oxford, NC (OXFO)
56° F
(+3.9° F)
0 mi
35.6° F
(+6.6° F)
0 mi
1.8 in
3.1 mph
26.4 mph
1.5 mph
West (260°)
Plymouth, NC (PLYM)
57.3° F
(-0.3° F)
2 mi
35.4° F
(+1° F)
2 mi
3.1 in
6.5 mph
34.1 mph
2.5 mph
Northwest (310°)
Raleigh, NC (LAKE)
57.6° F
(+1.9° F)
0 mi
36.5° F
(+2.5° F)
0 mi
2 in
5.3 mph
33.6 mph
2.8 mph
West Northwest (288°)
Rocky Mount, NC (ROCK)
57.7° F
(+3.2° F)
0 mi
35.6° F
(+2.9° F)
0 mi
2.1 in
4.6 mph
35.9 mph
1.6 mph
West (277°)
Salisbury, NC (SALI)
57.1° F
(+4.6° F)
0 mi
32.4° F
(+4.1° F)
0 mi
1.7 in
3.3 mph
32.7 mph
1.6 mph
West Northwest (288°)
Siler City, NC (SILR)
57° F
(+3.4° F)
5 mi
31.9° F
(+0.8° F)
5 mi
2.2 in
3.8 mph
29.1 mph
1.5 mph
West Northwest (290°)
Taylorsville, NC (TAYL)
55.9° F
31.4° F
2 in
2.7 mph
35.6 mph
1.2 mph
West (272°)
Wallace, NC (WILD)
60.9° F
(+0.2° F)
8 mi
36.4° F
(-0.2° F)
8 mi
2.4 in
4.5 mph
42.3 mph
1.4 mph
Northwest (304°)
Waynesville, NC (WAYN)
54.9° F
(+4.4° F)
0 mi
30.8° F
(+6.7° F)
0 mi
1.8 in
2.6 mph
25.3 mph
0.5 mph
West Northwest (295°)
Whiteville, NC (WHIT)
61.2° F
(+1.3° F)
0 mi
37° F
(+2.6° F)
0 mi
1.9 in
2.9 mph
26.9 mph
1 mph
Northwest (320°)
Williamston, NC (WILL)
58° F
(+3° F)
4 mi
35.9° F
(+2.3° F)
4 mi
2.9 in
3.2 mph
23.2 mph
1.4 mph
West Northwest (282°)
Legend:
Parameter
Parameter's value approximated from hourly data.
( +/- Departure from normal )
Distance to reference station

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