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Recent Questions

Question: What time was the eclipse on 10-21-2014? — Barbara Turner

Answer: For the Raleigh area, that partial eclipse of the sun actually occurred on 10-23-2014, and began at 5:59 PM for the Raleigh area, with the greatest coverage of the sun by the moon occurring at 6:29 PM, just a minute prior to sunset. We usually provide information about eclipses and similar events on our web site, our WRAL Weather Facebook page and sometimes within our on-air weathercasts, in the days leading up to the event. In addition, you can find a wealth of eclipse-related data on the web at sites like and
Oct. 29, 2014 | Tags: astronomy, cool sites

Question: Any chance we had a very small earthquake in the area around 12:30 on Thursday, October 23rd? I'm in West Cary and it felt like we had a small tremor. I guess it could have been construction in the area (or too much coffee!) — Dawn Toman

Answer: We're going to have to lean toward the construction and/or coffee solution on this one! We haven't received any other questions or reports to that effect, and a check of a USGS database of recent earthquakes of magnitude 2.5 or higher didn't show anything detected for the eastern U.S. on that day or within a couple of days either side. You can check that site if you ever feel what you think may have been a quake, by going to and zooming the map in enough to get a good view of NC (or wherever you're interested in). You can also open the "settings" page by clicking the sprocket/gear icon in the upper right, and adjust how long a window of time to cover, as well as the minimum magnitude of quakes to display.
Oct. 28, 2014 | Tags: cool sites, earthquakes/tsunamis

Question: My daughter is having an outside wedding November 1st in Nash county. What does the weather look like that weekend. — Dee Dee Nelms

Answer: At the time we're answering this, the forecast is for partly to mostly sunny skies and only a very small chance for rain, with gusty winds and high temperatures in the mid 50s to around 60. A frontal boundary and trailing upper level trough that will cross the region late this week will play an important role in the weekend weather, though, and we'd encourage you to check forecasts more closely in the second half of the week when the location and impacts of that frontal system should be better characterized. This far out, the level of confidence in the forecast for that time remains fairly low. Good luck, and congratulations to your daughter!
Oct. 27, 2014 | Tags: preparedness

Question: I am in Fayetteville NC at Zip Code 28304, how do I change the weather data so that it will automatically always come to weather for that zip code? — Rev. Donald L. Budd

Answer: The trick for making those "stick" is to be a registered user of the web site, so that when you come to our weather page it will remember the last location you chose for the 7-day forecast. If you use our site as an unregistered guest instead, all the same information and functionality is present, but it will default to Raleigh for weather information. There should be a "register" link toward the upper right hand corenr of the page where you can get your user name and password all set up.

Oct. 26, 2014 | Tags:

Question: I'm scrapbooking pictures from the first snowfall in 2014. How many times did it snow last winter? — Judy

Answer: You didn't mention exactly where you were located, but we took a look at all the snow events that occurred for winter 2013-14, and for the Wake County area snowfall amounts of a trace or more were reported on seven different occasions. For some of these, parts of our area to the southeast or northwest got more and those in the opposite direction missed out. You can check the accumulated snowfall amounts against your own location using event summary maps put together and posted online by the Raleigh NWS office, at

Oct. 25, 2014 | Tags: cool sites, past weather, snow

Question: Has anyone kept records on wooly worm predictions for cold/snowy winters? — Elizabeth

Answer: There isn't really any basis for connecting the order and color of bands in the wooly worm to a weekly rundown of future weather conditions through the winter, but it does make for some fun folklore and helps support a big festival in Banner Elk. Just for fun, the State Climate Office of NC did go through three years of predictions from the contest-winning worm a couple of years ago, and found the accuracy of the forecasts about the same as a coin flip. They did make a good point that the color pattern of the worms may bear some relation to the conditions of the previous winter. You can read their article at The Climate Prediction Center winter outlook for western NC gives an equal chance of above, near or below normal conditions for both temperature and precipitation, indicating that there are few strong signals to go on in making a confident projection for how this winter will turn out there.

Oct. 24, 2014 | Tags: cool sites, folklore, winter weather

Question: Do you have a projected 14 day weather prediction for the Fayetteville/Fort Bragg area? Have a couple of outside events for our federal charity campaign and wanted to see what you are projecting. — Dan Russell

Answer: We restrict our forecasts to a 7-day window, since specific projections for daily weather tend to be more unreliable beyond (and of course, occasionally within) that time frame. We do make forecasts for the Fayetteville area that can be accessed by searching for the city name or zip code in the box just above the 7-day forecast on our main weather page. In addition, the Climate Prediction Center does issue outlooks for the average conditions over the periods 6-10 and 8-14 days in the future, and these can give some general idea as to whether the overall pattern may tend to run warmer or cooler than average, or wetter or drier, but these are often not all that helpful in planning events for a specific day due to individual days that may depart significantly from the period average. You can see these forecasts in map form at
Oct. 23, 2014 | Tags: cool sites,

Question: How is it that "hurricanes" are now reported in the Pacific? — Kirk Hilton Proctor

Answer: We're not certain why you enclosed the word hurricanes in quotes, but hurricanes have long been a part of the weather regime (and reported as such) for the central and eastern North Pacific Ocean, where the Central Pacific Hurricane Center (CPHC - Honolulu, HI) and National Hurricane Center (NHC - Miami, FL), respectively, are responsible for tracking, forecasts and warnings, just as the NHC does for the Atlantic basin. When tropical cyclones in any of these basins have sustained winds reaching 74 mph or higher, they are referred to as hurricanes, so long as they remain east of the International Date Line (the 180-degree meridian). The same kind of storm in the northwest Pacific is referred to as a typhoon, while similar storms in the south Pacific and Indian Oceans are generally referred to as some variation of "Severe Tropical Cyclone." Different naming conventions apply to storms depending on which basin they are in. You can see a description of those naming systems and lists of names for all basins worldwide at
Oct. 22, 2014 | Tags: cool sites, hurricanes

Question: Do you think we will have a lot of snow or ice this winter? — Linda

Answer: Unfortunately, we just don't have a lot of reliable signals to use in forecasting details regarding how much snow or ice may occur in an upcoming season. There are some techniques that can take advantage of such things as predictions of El Nino or La Nina sea surface temperature conditions in the Pacific Ocean, and the amounts of Fall snow cover in Siberia, for example, but these tend to relate to winter temperature trends, and to a lesse extent overall precipitation trends, more so than to snow and ice specifically. Recent projections for Winter 2014-15 from the National Weather Service have our area with an equal chance of above, near or below normal winter average temperature, and within an area with a slightly higher chance of above normal precipitation as opposed to near or below normal precipitation.
Oct. 21, 2014 | Tags: winter weather

Question: What is the ideal temperature and dew point combination for fog in Southern Wake County? — John

Answer: There isn't a single ideal combination, and the formation of fog can be affected greatly by a number of factors beyond a simple combination of a surface measurement (4-5 feet off the ground) of those two variables. In a general sense, if dew point and temperature are very close together or the same, the air is saturated and there is at least some potential for fog. At colder temperatures, there is less water vapor in the air and so fog may tend to be less likely to be realized or tend to be less dense, while warmer temperatures favor thicker fog. Also, fog formation is more likely if the soil is cool (relative to air temperature) and moist, if vegetation is actively transpiring moisture, if winds are very light, if clouds at higher levels are lacking and if the amount of moisture in the lowest levels of the atmosphere tends to increase a bit with height rather than decreasing.
Oct. 20, 2014 | Tags: atmospheric optics, clouds, humidity/dew point

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