Thursday, January 27, 2011

Winter's not over, but ...

We're about to enjoy our first stretch of tolerable weather since Thanksgiving, and that's a good time to note we've reached a major landmark in what has been a nasty winter.

It's a small landmark, with mostly symbolic meaning, but we'll take anything we can get this winter.

On Monday, the average high temperature for Charlotte was 52 degrees. That's notable because it was an increase of 1 degree from the previous day.

Monday marked the day when -- based on climate history in Charlotte -- the weather begins to warm. The path to summer begins slowly, but it's a start. Next Monday, our average high climbs to 53 degrees. By the end of February, it's 58.

Some people assume the temperature turnaround begins Dec. 21, the first official day of winter. But the atmosphere has a built-in delay process, and our coldest weather usually comes about a month after winter starts. It's the same for summer, with the hottest temperatures, on average, in mid-July.

You also should be noticing a change in the amount of daylight. It should be especially noticeable over the next few days, when we have sunny conditions in Charlotte.

Sunset is about 40 minutes later now than in mid-December, and the total amount of daylight at the end of January is 37 minutes longer than at the start of the month. We add nearly another hour of daylight in February.

This certainly doesn't mean winter is over, even though we'll be enjoying temperatures near 60 degrees this weekend. Some meteorologists and weather geeks were writing on weather bulletin boards last week about a possible monster storm arriving this weekend, but that didn't develop. Instead, we might experience our first stretch of three consecutive days with above-average high temperatures this winter.

Looking down the road ... an arctic air mass is predicted to move into the Midwest and reach as far south as Texas next Tuesday, and at least some of that cold air will spread eastward later in the week.

But that seems far away right now.

The sun is out, average temperatures are climbing, the amount of daylight is growing, and for at least a few days, we can forget about the worst of winter (provided we're not trying to catch a flight to the snow-beleaguered East Coast).


Anonymous said...

Until I get my A/C fixed I don't want to hear ANYTHING about warmer temperatures!!! Grrrr....

John said...

I'm looking forward to getting back to "normal" Charlotte weather!