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Weather Questions tagged “normals”(remove tag filter)
Question: I want to schedule a barn dance. The barn has no heat and no air conditioning. What month of the year would be warm enough for no heat, yet cool enough for no AC in Louisburg? — Georgette Burnette
Answer: That's a hard question to answer with great confidence, as we don't know what time of day you're most interested in or many specifics about the barn. However, it's probably reasonable to shoot for a time of year when temperatures in the daytime are fairly warm on average but fall off fairly fast at night. We looked for times of year when the daily average temperature was such as to result in small values of "cooling degree days," when a normally insulated structure would require a bit of air conditioning to stay comfortable in the afternoon, but something like a typical barn might not get too cool too quickly in the evening. About the middle two weeks of May and September seem to be good candidates. If your even is more focused in the daytime, you might want to shift more towards early May or late September when normal highs are a little cooler. Of course, in any given year these time periods can run warmer or cooler than their long-term averages.
Feb. 26, 2014 | Tags: normals
Question: What is the frequency that Raleigh, NC exceeds 50 inches of rain per year? — Jerry Perkins
Answer: We just completed 2013 with a total precipitation reading for the RDU airport of 50.7 inches, but that is not a common occurrence as our normal yearly amount (based on the 30-year average for 1981-2010) is 43.3 inches. A scan of the records from RDU through the years shows about a 13.8 percent chance of reaching 50 inches or higher in a given year, or a recurrence interval of a little over once every seven years.
If you'll check the graph of yearly totals that we keep on our site for the past 50 years at www.wral.com/weather/page/1005530/?showmap=totalrain, you'll notice that the frequency has become notably higher in the past 25 years or so than it had been earlier. This may be related to a similarly timed increase in the numbers and intensity of Atlantic tropical cyclones compared to a relative lull in such activity from the 1960s through the 1980s.
Jan. 6, 2014 | Tags: normals, past weather, rain
Question: How many 90 plus days (for highs) did Raleigh have in 2013? Just wondering. — Mike
Question: What are the chances of Roxboro getting snow for Christmas? I like snow probably more than you do. I wish for snow every day of the winter. — Betsy
Answer: In a historic sense, the Roxboro area has about the highest chance in our viewing area, but even then when it comes to snow actually falling on Christmas Day, the odds are quite low. Measurable snow has been recorded in 3 years out of 86 available, with three additional years indicating trace amounts of snow. This gives a long-term chance of snow falling on Christmas of about 7% (half that if you restrict it to measurable amounts).
The State Climate Office has a "White Christmas" probability estimator that is a little more relaxed in terms of timing, as it counts snow that either falls or is on the ground anytime in the December 24-26th time frame, but only counts measurable amounts of snow. Using that criteria, the overall chances at Roxboro are about 5.2%. You can use this tool to check the corresponding probabilities at many stations across our state, using the drop-down selector at www.nc-climate.ncsu.edu/white-christmas.php.
Finally, in terms of the chances for this year, they appear very slender indeed, as it looks as if high pressure over the area will leave us cold, but bright and dry for Christmas Day.
Dec. 24, 2013 | Tags: cool sites, normals, past weather, snow
Question: In Raleigh spring what is the average first day at 75 degrees? — Danny Frazier
Answer: We got some help on this one from our friends at the Southeastern Regional Climate Center, since there are a couple of different statistics that aren't so readily available. They are related but differ in a subtle but important manner. First, there is a date at which the average high temperature at RDU reaches 75 degrees (rounded to the nearest degree), which is April 24th. However, that is a different date from the one you get when you consider the average of the earliest occurrence of 75 degrees over the years. When you check the records for that statistic, you find that the average is over a month earlier, on March 21st. The corresponding average date of the last occurrence of 75 degrees, by the way, is October 31st.
Dec. 18, 2013 | Tags: normals, records/extremes
Question: Is it just me or is it always RAINY or cloudy on Christmas day? I can't remember the last time it was bright and sunny on December 25. Could it happen this year? — Gerald
Answer: It isn't always by any means, but there can be "streakiness" in the behavior of weather and climate, and we have had a streak of cloudier, rainier Christmas Days in the Raleigh area over the past ten years, which probably accounts for your perception. In the long term, a December day has about a 45% chance of being mostly cloudy or cloudy, but 70% of the last ten Christmases have met that criteria here. About 32% of December days would rate as mostly sunny to sunny, but only one Christmas (10%) has done so since 2003. In terms of measurable precipitation, about 29% of December days manage that, but of the last 10 Christmases, six (60%) have featured measurable rain and in one case (2010) some snow as well. We're a few weeks from the next Christmas as we write this answer, so it's too far away to know what kind of cloud cover and precipitation chances we'll have then.
Dec. 7, 2013 | Tags: clouds, normals, past weather
Question: How many 90 degree days have we had in 2013 June - August vs. average for these three months? Also, how do these three months stack up for mean temperatures vs. previous record cool summers? — Thomas
Answer: June through August of this year (meteorological summer) saw the temperature at RDU reach 90 or higher 24 times, compared to a normal (which is the 30-year average for 1981-2010) of 41 times. We've had as few as 11 in 1973 and as many as 67 in 2010. The mean temperature for the summer was 77.0 degrees, compared to a normal of 77.8. Our coolest summer in terms of mean temperature was 74.2 degrees back in 1972. We posted graphics showing these numbers and a few others on our "WRAL Weather" Facebook page back around September 4th in case you're interested in having a look at those. One item of note is that our average temperature for this summer wasn't all that far below normal, but it was a result of highs that were a good bit below normal being balanced by lows that averaged a good bit above normal.
Sep. 13, 2013 | Tags: normals, past weather, records/extremes
Question: How do I find the number of hurricanes that occur in the Caribbean during September? — Anonymous
Answer: NOAA provides a very nice historical hurricane tracks browser at csc.noaa.gov/hurricanes/#. To find the number of tropical cyclones that have passed through any region you're interested in, you can pick a location and set the radius of a circle to search in, and once the system has plotted all storm tracks for that location, you can then open the "refine search" section to filter using the "time" button. This will allow you, for example, to select "September" and whatever range of years you'd like to include. This will show all storms that have passed through that are in September. If you want an average number for how many pass through the region per year, you can then divide by the number of years you included. You can also filter by storm intensity to see only category three or higher and so on.
Aug. 17, 2013 | Tags: cool sites, hurricanes, normals, past weather
Question: Do you find any significance to when the West Coast is having an unusually warm summer and the East Coast having an unusually cool summer and vice versa? I have lived on both coasts and am a weather watcher so I'm aware of this difference and wondered if the two have anything to do with each other. For instance, this summer it's unusually dry and warm on the West Coast and unusually cool and wet on the East Coast, whereas last year it was reversed. — Candy
Answer: That certainly can be the case, both on a seasonal scale or for short-term weather patterns of a few days' duration. It all relates to the pattern of flow of the jet stream and the long and short-wave disturbances that develop within the average west to east flow around the mid-latitude regions. Across the United States, it often works out that there is something of a "see-saw" effect in that slow moving or blocked weather patterns can end up with a persistent upper level ridge over the western U.S., associated with dryer and hotter than normal weather, and an upper level trough across the east, with opposite effects. Of course, there can be patterns with the positions of those features reversed so as to leave the hot weather in the east and vice versa. There are also seasons or years in which these features tend to be more transient and short-lived, allowing for more typical variability of warm and cool, or wet and dry periods across most of the country.
Aug. 5, 2013 | Tags: general meteorology, normals
Question: As a farmer, planting dates are very important for strawberries. If the winter is cold, plant early, if the winter is warm, plant late. Any idea what this winter will be like. El Nino, La Nina, giving any info? Last year we planted a little early, long fall, lots of warm weather, too many crowns meant too many small blooms and berries. Thanks for your help. — Mark Waller
Answer: The state of the El Nino/Southern Oscillation pattern is one of the primary influences on longer range climate outlooks, along with trends over recent year of temperature and precipitation in comparison to historical values. Looking ahead to this winter, the current "neutral" pattern with neither a La Nina or El Nino underway (sometimes called "La Nada") is given a good chance to continue through the fall and into the winter. A forecast consensus from the Climate Prediction Center and the International Research Institute gives a 26% chance of La Nina for the winter, a 55% chance of neutral conditions and a 19% chance of El Nino. Given the lack of a likely tilt toward El Nino or La Nina, the climate forecasters are basing winter projections mainly on recent trends along with some models, and show our part of the country with a better than average chance of having a warmer than normal winter (the Climate Prediction Center outlook indicates a 40% chance of being warmer than normal, a 33% chance of near-normal temperatures and a 27% chance of a colder than normal winter), with a slight tilt toward having lower than normal precipitation. That's a fairly vague outlook, of course, but is the best that can be done at those time ranges.
Jul. 26, 2013 | Tags: normals, winter weather
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Published: 2007-10-09 14:40:00
Updated: 2013-08-13 13:37:27
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