Threading the decades together
Posted April 25, 2012
When you see us refer to new or old records for highest or lowest temperature, most rain or snow, coldest high or warmest low temperature, and similar extremes, you've probably gotten used to hearing us mention "at the Raleigh-Durham airport." That's largely been the case because the most complete and continuous set of data has been readily available and formatted from that site as the "official" Raleigh station of record since 1944. However, the National Weather Service in our area has recently completed a project using the so-called "ThreadEx" technique, short for "threaded extremes," that combines the data from RDU with earlier reports from old Weather Bureau sites, in order to create a continuous string of records that stretches back beyond the limits of the airport database.
The resulting database is simply referred to as the "Raleigh Area" climate record, and it now extends those records back to the year 1887, providing a much longer context for any newly established extreme value. The same technique was applied at Greensboro to produce a set of records going back 1892, and by combining more recent data from the Fayetteville airport with older observation from the cooperative observer site at the Fayetteville City Water Plant to create a database going back to 1910.
I've included a link to the selection page for various climate data files for central NC hosted by the Raleigh NWS office. Once you get to that page, you can find more specific links to daily normals and extremes for Raleigh, Greensboro and Fayetteville in various formats.