Setting More Records...

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Just a week ago I was writing here about a record low temperature of 25 degrees at RDU on Sunday morning Nov 5th. Well, a week can be a long time under certain weather conditions, and the patterns that came into play last week certainly managed that, with a much warmer airmass shifting into place late in the week, and bringing us a pair of new record HIGH temperatures as we kicked off the weekend.

On Friday, the mercury soared to 81 degrees at the airport, about 17 degrees above "normal" for the date and two degrees higher than the previous record of 79 set back in 1966. The warm airmass remained in place on Saturday with southwest winds ahead of an approaching cold front, and with extensive sunshine during an interval following the departure of some morning high cloudiness and the evening arrival of clouds associated with the front, we reached 80 degrees, to break (again by two degrees) the old mark of 78, this one going back to 1949.

As the cold front entered western parts of our state, it was supported by a fairly sharp and deepening upper level trough that was starting to feed a plume of deep moisture northward into the region. That trough intensified even more as it built into North Carolina, with a cutoff low forming Saturday night into Sunday morning. This allowed what was initially a narrow band of moderate showers and isolated thunderstorms to become a more widespread area of moderate to locally heavy rain that lingered through much of the night and morning, producing some impressive rainfall totals.

Before some drying from the south and west caused the rain to taper off, we saw .74" at Greensboro, .61" at Fayetteville, 1.37" at Roanoke Rapids and 1.45" at Rocky Mount-Wilson, with a few small areas topping two inches. At RDU, the storm total was 1.48 inches, a lot of rain for a single day in November, but nowhere close to the previous record amount of 3.12" that fell in 1975.

We're certainly in a different place with rainfall and water supplies than we were at times last fall and this spring. Right now, rainfall at RDU since September 1st is 15.9 inches, almost double the normal of 8.6 inches over that time span. On top of that, it appears we may be in for a decent band of showers and possibly thunderstorms this Wednesday night into Thursday morning, although with low pressure likely to pass by farther north and west of us this go around, our totals will likely run somewhat lower than the weekend system, probably about .25-.75" for most of us if current projections hold up.