The title here refers to the record high temperature we set at RDU on Sunday, as the afternoon maximum of 71 degrees topped the previous record for the date, which was 70 set back in 2001. However, that was one of the "easier" records to set that we've seen in a while, simply because of the statistical oddity that our old record for Dec 17 was on the low end of the spectrum for this time of year. To illustrate, we should get warmer today than we did on Sunday, but are less likely to set a new record because the old record for the day is 77 degrees, from 1984. In fact, the previous records for the 5 days centered on Sunday were 75, 77, 70, 77 and 76, hence the "easy pickings" reference for yesterday's new record. For those who'd like to see some more seasonable temperatures heading into the Christmas weekend, we do have a cold front bearing down that should return our temperatures to normal for a few days, although we have some potential to creep back into the 60s, with some periods of rain, for the weekend.
Beyond all that, I hope everyone is enjoying the "new" WRAL.com - we think it will offer some notable advantages over the previous version of the site. We do realize that there are some elements of the old site that are still missing or that may have experienced some glitches in the transition, and will continue to work with the WRAL.com staff to update the content and functionality based on our own reviews and of course on feedback from those of you who do us the favor of a visit.
Regarding a couple of specific issues, the archive of previous WRAL WeatherCenter blogs seems to have lost their embedded hyperlinks, so if you read through older entries there may be places that imply a link where one does not exist. In addition, graphics and photos in the blogs were automatically "thumb-nailed" during the import, and are displayed in the upper right hand corner of the blog with arrows to step through the available images. Clicking on a small image will bring up a larger and more detailed version. This means some of the archived blogs will refer "the image below" or "the map above" but the intended spatial relationship will no longer hold. We will try to go back and adjust some of these issues in the older blogs, but it may be a gradual process.
A second issue is the "Ask the Meteorologist" feature. Unfortunately, the site went live before an updated process was developed for answering and displaying the questions, so we've been collecting new questions since Friday and hope to begin posting responses tomorrow (Tue 19 Dec). It would seem that the new form for submitting questions is easier to use or more prominent than on the old site, as we typically used to receive about 5-10 new questions per week, but have gotten more than 80 since Friday morning! One advantage of the new system compared to the last is that older questions can be answered at any time and should appear at the top of the list when a response is posted. On the previous site, answers posted in the order they questions were received, which sometimes resulted in older questions posting for the first time far down the page, or on another page entirely, easy to miss for those who frequently scan the top of the list to see if new material is on the site.
Finally, for those with comments and suggestions about the re-launched site, the web staff is happy to receive your inputs via the email@example.com e-mail address.