NC Arboretum in Asheville, NC

March 2011

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North Carolina Climate, the monthly newsletter of the State Climate Office of NC, covers a monthly climate summary for February with impacts across the state, as well as information on our new Weather Extremes product.
PDF version available for printing.

 

Climate Summary

Temperature and Precipitation by climate division
Departures from Normal for February 2011
Based on Preliminary Data
Temperature and Precipitation Departures from Normal

While the past winter started frigid, it ended warm. Much of North Carolina ran nearly 3 degrees F below normal in January, however most of NC was ~3 degrees F above normal in February. Many locations in NC experienced several days with temperatures in the 70s, and a few locations experienced one or more days with temperatures above 80F. Indeed, Raleigh-Durham Airport tied a record with 1989 as the only February to experience maximum temperatures above 80F on 2 or more days during the month. Both Greensboro and Charlotte set or tied records for the number of days in February with maximum temperatures above 70F. Statewide, February 2011 ranked as the 29th warmest and 37th driest since 1895.

And while there was a bit more precipitation as compared with January, February 2011 continued the pattern of dry conditions. Indeed, most of North Carolina experienced substantial precipitation only during the first and last week of February.

High winds were also common in February 2011, and damages were reported across the state. Some damage was associated with passing thunderstorms during the last few days of February, but there were also widespread reports of non-thunderstorm damage associated with strong winds behind cold fronts.

Snow also fell across most of North Carolina in early February, though there were not the big storms as experienced in the previous months. Even several coastal counties experienced snow on February 10. Coastal areas also received substantial preciptiation from another coastal storm. Over the past 3 months, only coastal regions of North Carolina have experienced near- or above-normal precipitation.

Precipitation for February 2011
Based on estimates from NWS Radar
Data courtesy NWS/NCEP
MPE Precipitation


Precipitation for February 2011: Percent of Normal
Based on estimates from NWS Radar
Data courtesy NWS/NCEP
MPE Precipitation Percent of Normal

 

Impacts to Agriculture and Water Resources

Warm conditions in February have caused some growing concerns for some fruit crops – especially blueberries, grapes, and peaches – that continued warm weather may increase the risk of damage if a hard freeze comes in late March or early April. Warm conditions often bring perennials out of their winter dormancy early, and expose the more fragile tissues to risk of freeze. This was experienced in 2007 when warm conditions in March exacerbated the exposure when a long-lived freeze occurred over Easter weekend. While that same level of disaster is not necessarily expected this year, there is growing concern of the potential risk. More information on the 2007 Easter Freeze and its impacts is available at:
http://www1.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/techrpts/tr200801/tech-report-200801.pdf

Dry conditions in February did exacerbate the ongoing drought conditions. Drought during the winter season is difficult to imagine for most folks since the cooler temperatures and dormant plants keep most moisture that does fall in the top soil. However, the flurry of fire activity, low reservoirs, low streams, and low groundwater demonstrate the impacts of the dry winter on our water supplies and fire risk. Instead of the typical improvement in water resource levels that we usually expect in winter, we’re seeing very low water resource supplies for this time of year.

If substantial precipitation doesn’t come in the next 6-8 weeks, North Carolina could be primed for widespread water supply problems if we experience a dry summer. Unfortunately, we aren’t able to get a meaningful forecast for the summer.


US Drought Monitor for North Carolina
Courtesy NC DENR Division of Water Resources

February 2011 Drought Monitor

 

Weather Extremes

The SCO has released a new and improved Weather Extremes page! While previously only available for North Carolina as a whole, weather extremes can now be generated for a given climate division, county, or weather station. In addition, results can incorporate all data, or be retrieved for a specific month or day of year. While the record event is shown by default for each parameter, an option to show the top 5 records is also available. These weather extremes can also be viewed through Google Maps, or downloaded to an Excel spreadsheet.

Table of NC Weather Extremes
Table of statewide extremes for North Carolina, valid from January 1870 through February 2011.

Map of NC Weather Extremes
Map of statewide extremes for North Carolina, valid from January 1870 through February 2011.

The new Weather Extremes page can be accessed through the "Weather and Climate" section of the Data and Products menu, or via the “Highlights” section on the home page:
http://nc-climate.ncsu.edu/climate/nc_extremes.php

 

Statewide Summary for February 2011

As part of the monthly newsletter, the SCO provides a basic summary of monthly conditions for ECONet stations. A daily version of this product for all locations that have an automated reporting station is available online at:
http://www.nc-climate.ncsu.edu/cronos/review

Station
Avg Daily
Max Temp
Avg Daily
Min Temp
Total
Rainfall
Avg Daily
Wind Speed
Max Daily
Wind Speed
Vector Avg
Wind
Aurora, NC (AURO)
59.6° F
(+4.1° F)
4 mi
39.3° F
(+5.9° F)
4 mi
3 in
2.4 mph
24.4 mph
1.6 mph
Southwest (233°)
Boone, NC (BOON)
52.2° F
(+9.7° F)
1 mi
30.1° F
(+8.5° F)
1 mi
3.7 in
7.4 mph
38.1 mph
5.8 mph
West (270°)
Buckland, NC (BUCK)
58.3° F
(+6.4° F)
15 mi
33.8° F
(+5.1° F)
15 mi
2.1 in
2.5 mph
24.6 mph
1.3 mph
West Southwest (241°)
Burnsville, NC (BURN)
52.7° F
(+3.4° F)
8 mi
28.6° F
(+5.4° F)
8 mi
3.5 in
4.8 mph
26.2 mph
2.9 mph
West Northwest (299°)
Castle Hayne, NC (CAST)
61.1° F
(+1.8° F)
0 mi
38.9° F
(+3.6° F)
0 mi
4.6 in
4.7 mph
24.4 mph
1.1 mph
West (280°)
Clayton, NC (CLAY)
59.3° F
(+5.5° F)
3 mi
36.6° F
(+6.7° F)
3 mi
2.1 in
5.2 mph
32 mph
2.8 mph
West Southwest (256°)
Clayton, NC (CLA2)
60.6° F
(+6.8° F)
3 mi
35° F
(+5.1° F)
3 mi
3 in
2 mph
20.4 mph
0.9 mph
West (276°)
Clinton, NC (CLIN)
60.9° F
(+4.8° F)
0 mi
37.2° F
(+3.3° F)
0 mi
2.6 in
5.4 mph
29 mph
2.7 mph
Southeast (143°)
Durham, NC (DURH)
60.1° F
(+6.7° F)
6 mi
33° F
(+3.5° F)
6 mi
2.2 in
3.5 mph
30.2 mph
2.1 mph
West Southwest (247°)
Fletcher, NC (FLET)
55.7° F
(+5.6° F)
0 mi
29.3° F
(+4° F)
0 mi
2.7 in
2.3 mph
24.5 mph
0.9 mph
North (353°)
Goldsboro, NC (GOLD)
60.6° F
(+3° F)
5 mi
36.4° F
(+1° F)
5 mi
2.6 in
4.1 mph
30.2 mph
1.9 mph
South Southwest (202°)
Greensboro, NC (NCAT)
56.9° F
(+5.2° F)
12 mi
33.8° F
(+3.2° F)
12 mi
2.7 in
4.2 mph
30.3 mph
3 mph
West Southwest (246°)
Hendersonville, NC (BEAR)
45.5° F
(-7.2° F)
7 mi
29.2° F
(+1.2° F)
7 mi
5 in
10.6 mph
50.4 mph
8.6 mph
West (273°)
High Point, NC (HIGH)
57.5° F
(+2.8° F)
2 mi
32.7° F
(+0.6° F)
2 mi
2.2 in
2.3 mph
21.8 mph
1.3 mph
West (277°)
Jackson Springs, NC (JACK)
59.5° F
(+5.4° F)
0 mi
37.2° F
(+4.1° F)
0 mi
3 in
5.3 mph
33 mph
1.8 mph
West Southwest (255°)
Kinston, NC (KINS)
60.5° F
(+0.6° F)
0 mi
37.7° F
(+3.2° F)
0 mi
2.5 in
5.5 mph
34.7 mph
3 mph
West Southwest (242°)
Laurel Springs, NC (LAUR)
48.7° F
(+4.5° F)
1 mi
27.8° F
(+6.7° F)
1 mi
2.8 in
5.7 mph
42.3 mph
3.7 mph
West (277°)
Lewiston, NC (LEWS)
58.3° F
(+4.2° F)
0 mi
35.2° F
(+3.7° F)
0 mi
1.9 in
4.5 mph
34.7 mph
2.9 mph
West Southwest (258°)
Lilesville, NC (LILE)
61.3° F
(+5.3° F)
9 mi
38.4° F
(+4.3° F)
9 mi
3.2 in
4 mph
25.1 mph
1.8 mph
West Southwest (246°)
Mount Mitchell, NC (MITC)
40° F
(+3.8° F)
0 mi
24.5° F
(+5.8° F)
0 mi
3.7 in
20.8 mph
74.9 mph
20.4 mph
West Northwest (293°)
Oxford, NC (OXFO)
57.5° F
(+5.4° F)
0 mi
35.4° F
(+6.4° F)
0 mi
1.9 in
2.8 mph
24 mph
2.1 mph
West Southwest (244°)
Plymouth, NC (PLYM)
58.6° F
(+1° F)
2 mi
35.7° F
(+1.3° F)
2 mi
2.5 in
5.5 mph
39.5 mph
2.3 mph
West Northwest (285°)
Raleigh, NC (LAKE)
59.4° F
(+3.7° F)
0 mi
36.1° F
(+2.1° F)
0 mi
2.1 in
5.7 mph
31.3 mph
3.3 mph
West (261°)
Raleigh, NC (REED)
59.4° F
(+6.4° F)
3 mi
36.9° F
(+4.6° F)
3 mi
4.5 in
2.8 mph
30.4 mph
2.1 mph
West (280°)
Reidsville, NC (REID)
55.8° F
(+4.7° F)
0 mi
35.1° F
(+5.6° F)
0 mi
3.8 in
4.8 mph
30.5 mph
3.2 mph
West Northwest (282°)
Rocky Mount, NC (ROCK)
59.5° F
(+5° F)
0 mi
35.3° F
(+2.6° F)
0 mi
1.9 in
4.8 mph
33.6 mph
2.4 mph
West Southwest (252°)
Salisbury, NC (SALI)
58° F
(+5.5° F)
0 mi
31.8° F
(+3.5° F)
0 mi
2.5 in
3.1 mph
32.9 mph
1.6 mph
West Northwest (282°)
Siler City, NC (SILR)
58.5° F
(+4.9° F)
5 mi
31.1° F
(0° F)
5 mi
1.4 in
3.8 mph
27.2 mph
1.9 mph
West (266°)
Taylorsville, NC (TAYL)
56.2° F
31.2° F
2.5 in
2.4 mph
46.8 mph
1.2 mph
West (269°)
Wallace, NC (WILD)
61.2° F
(+0.5° F)
8 mi
37.6° F
(+1° F)
8 mi
7 in
5.5 mph
52.6 mph
1.8 mph
West Southwest (253°)
Waynesville, NC (WAYN)
54.7° F
(+4.2° F)
0 mi
29.4° F
(+5.3° F)
0 mi
3.4 in
2.3 mph
31.9 mph
0.8 mph
West Southwest (250°)
Whiteville, NC (WHIT)
61.9° F
(+2° F)
0 mi
37.6° F
(+3.2° F)
0 mi
4.7 in
3.4 mph
22.5 mph
0.9 mph
West Southwest (254°)
Williamston, NC (WILL)
59° F
(+4° F)
4 mi
36.3° F
(+2.7° F)
4 mi
2.4 in
3.6 mph
26.7 mph
1.8 mph
West (259°)
Legend:
Parameter
Parameter's value approximated from hourly data.
( +/- Departure from normal )
Distance to reference station

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