Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The big news of 2010

We've got the coldest air in possibly two decades headed our way next week, so let me get some unfinished business out of the way -- and then we'll start thinking about the frigid air mass headed our way.

First, let's put a wrap on 2010, and the big weather stories in the Charlotte region:

1. A non-story ... the lack of hurricanes.

The National Hurricane Center and just about every other long-range meteorologist predicted a busy year for tropical storms and hurricanes in the Atlantic basin, and they were correct. There were 19 named storms this year, compared to an average of 11.

But nearly all the storms veered away from the U.S. mainland. A few of the meteorologists who make hurricane season predictions had forecast landfall of a major storm on the Southeast coast, but a powerful high pressure system sat over our part of the country through much of July, August and September.

That kept storms from the U.S. coast. It was good news for vacationers, those who own beachfront property, and all of us who didn't have to pay $6 a gallon for gasoline (no storms affected the petroleum industry).

2. The summer heat.

There were only two days above 100 degrees, both in July, and that's not terribly out of the ordinary. But Charlotte came within an eyelash of breaking the record for 90-degree days.

There were 87 days of 90 degrees or hotter in Charlotte, barely falling short of the record of 88, set in the miserably hot summer of 1954. Summer got off to a hot start, with 18 straight 90-degree days in June, and the heat kept going through Sept. 25, when it hit 95 degrees.

On Sept. 26, the high was only 75, and that marked an end to a very hot summer.

3. Christmas snow (or Dec. 26 snow).

Whether 2010 produced a white Christmas or not is something meteorologists can argue about. The National Weather Service says official snowfall measurements are taken at 7 a.m., but there was accumulated snow in Charlotte before midnight on Christmas. So for most of us, it was a white Christmas.

While the snowfall -- and all the speculation leading up to the snow -- was something of a curiosity piece for the Charlotte area, the storm system was a serious problem farther up the East Coast, where it turned into a raging blizzard. The storm wrecked the airline flight schedule for several days and turned the Christmas holiday into a first-class mess for many travelers.

4. October 26 tornadoes.

A half-dozen tornadoes touched down in Cleveland, Catawba and Iredell counties, as a powerful low pressure system moving along a stalled cold front spread stormy weather across much of the western Carolinas.

The next day, additional severe thunderstorm activity broke out across the area, before the cold front finally sagged into South Carolina.

5. March 28 tornadoes.

A low pressure system moving across the Carolinas set off severe weather on a Sunday evening, including a tornado in Belmont and thunderstorms with damaging wind gusts in western Mecklenburg County. The same system also triggered a tornado in the northern Rowan County town of Spencer. Fortunately, there were no serious injuries.


Anonymous said...

What!? The coldest air in two decades? I had no idea. Thank you for giving us your weather insight. I think b/c the weather around here is usually so boring I don't pay attention anymore. Now I have to get prepared for some frigid temperatures...thanks for the heads up!


Anonymous said...

Wish he'd elaborate a bit on that prediction. None of the long range forecasts that I've seen (including the one in CO) show temperatures out of the ordinary.

Anonymous said...

I had the same thought re: "coldest air in 2 decades". Was this a teaser? Where's the promised report?????

Anonymous said...

this is full of hot air, the temps next week wont even be close to what we had a couple weeks ago?! by the way where is the "report on such cold air?"

Anonymous said...

actually, children, if you'd take about 2 minutes to LOOK for yourselves, you'll find the story all over the place. accuweather, for example, is suggesting that the coming month may be the coldest january in the U.S. since 1985. i found a site that gives a list of reasons so technical that even having had a college course in meteorology i had NO idea what the cat was talking about.


Anonymous said...

I looked at the Accuweather site and the coldest high temp in the next 15 days is around 40 and the coldest low is around 20. That is cold but not the coldest in the last 2 decades. The end of the month may be very cold but the article said that the extreme cold is coming next week.

Anonymous said...

to the poster at 648pm; accuweather is a joke, they pretty much all are, The National weather service site is by far the most accurate and no where does it show temperatures more than 10-15 degrees below avg. Hardly frigid. We had highs near freezing with lows near 10 just a couple weeks ago!, that wasn't even that close to the "coldest air in 2 decades"

Anonymous said...

Weather.gov, and pop in your zipcode. Read the forecast discussion at bottom right where they explain disagreement between models and confidence in the forecast.

Anonymous said...

I hear ya, someone that actually knows something about the weather!
I read those discussions every day.
(referring to the poster at 835)

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I agree with some of these other posters. I don't see any signs of record breaking cold air coming in next week. Looks like it will be cold, but the cold air we had in December will probably be colder than this next surge. The national weather service (the only guys I really trust) aren't even mentioning a cold outbreak.