A Quiet Autumn

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November is not the first month that comes to mind when talking about interesting weather in North Carolina. But the transition seasons, spring and fall, tend to bring a wide range of weather. While spring tends to be a bit more volatile, November has had its moments. The first that comes to mind is the Raleigh tornado of 1988. Those of us who were here remember it well, for the rest of you, a tornado touched down in Raleigh just after midnight in Umstead Park just off of Harrison Ave. It would remain on the ground for 84 miles and eventually reach Northampton County, northeast of Roanoke Rapids. The trail of destruction impacted thousands of lives across six North Carolina counties. 4 people died, including two children in Raleigh, over 157 people were injured. The storm destroyed 425 residences and 78 businesses. Over 2000 homes sustained some damage resulting in nearly 1000 residents becoming homeless. Damage totals ranged around 77 million dollars in 1988 figures. The tornado had its origin in a cluster of thunderstorms that developed over south central North Carolina just before midnight on November 27. This cluster of thunderstorms rapidly intensified as it moved over Cary from the southwest between 1245 AM and 100 AM and became a tornado producer shortly after 1:00 AM. Our peak tornado season is March through May, but we must remember they can happen at any time of the year.

Back in 1992 we saw 5 tornadoes across state on November 22nd, two of which were in the Triangle region. Two people died in Orange County and over 20 people were injured when they struck between 2:00 and 5:00am.

The other end of the weather spectrum takes us to Sunday November 19th, 2000. 1.5” of wet snow fell at RDU, 2 “ fell in Chatham and northern Moore counties, and about 3” back towards Asheville. The earliest report of measurable snowfall at RDU is November 6th, 1953; an accumulation of snow this early is not the norm for the Triangle.

So, as you are enjoying the beautiful, deep blue skies and the color of the changing leaves keep in mind that November is a month of change and can bring a wide variety of weather.