The winter so far...
Posted February 5, 2013
For the purpose of climate records, "winter" is considered to be December through February, although we of course do get some wintry weather on fairly rare occasion as early as October (only a trace of snow reported late in the month a couple of times, with the earliest occurrence of 1 inch or more being 1.2" that fell on November 12th, 1968) and as late as April (Raleigh got 10 inches of snow on April 3, 1915 and 1.8" on Apr 18, 1983). We now have two of the three months of climatological winter in the books for 2012-13, and the first image above provides a look at the numbers so far for RDU. As you would imagine, they confirm it's been a mild winter so far, with the average high for those two months 4.2 degrees above normal, and the low 5.1 degrees above normal. The overall mean temperature is 4.6 degrees above normal, and ranks as the 5th warmest at RDU for Dec-Jan out of 69 years.
Precipitation overall has been very close to normal, with just over six inches for the two months, while we've been a little short of normal on snowfall, with a total of one inch so far.
It appears we'll run at or somewhat above normal for temperatures for the next week or so, with several chances at what will likely be liquid precipitation (rainfall, with frozen or freezing precipitation looking unlikely), the next one coming later Thursday into early Friday and then another chance next Monday or Monday night. The relatively mild and periodically wet upcoming pattern is reflected in the two maps I included from the Climate Prediction Center, showing the eastern U.S. with above normal temperatures and precipitation (on average) for the period ending around Valentine's Day.