Saturday, February 12, 2011

This is nice. How long will it last?

The sun is shining, and temperatures are climbing into the upper 50s and 60s for the next several days.

After the cold and snow of December, January and early February, this is a nice change. Do you expect it to last? I mean, is winter over?

Anyone who's lived in the Carolinas for at least one winter knows the answer to that last question. March is an incredibly unpredictable month around here, equally capable of producing 80-degree days or heavy snow.

The good thing about heavy snow in March is that it doesn't last long. With a relatively high angle of the sun and milder temperatures ready to move in, warming trends usually follow any frozen precipitation at that time of year.

Anyway, I doubt that you'd find a meteorologist willing to predict that winter has ended in the Carolinas.

But we're at least getting a 10-day break.

The jet stream is switching to more of a zonal flow, in which air masses will move generally west to east, with none of that dropping-from-the-Yukon stuff. When we have a zonal flow in winter, our temperatures are mild.

Highs on Saturday should reach the middle 50s, and then the lower 60s Sunday. Monday should be quite mild, with highs possibly hitting the upper 60s. We'll fall back a bit Tuesday, after a dry cold front passes through. But after a couple days in the upper 50s, we'll return to the 60s by Thursday.

The mild weather should continue through next weekend.

After that, it gets a bit hazy.

The Climate Prediction Center, operated by NOAA, seems to think it'll stay warm for the next two weeks. You can check out the Center's various products at (check out the 8-14 day temperature forecast).

The two major commercial weather services differ a bit. The Weather Channel's ( 10-day forecast shows mild weather through Feb. 21 (a week from Monday). Accu-Weather ( predicts a return to chilly conditions Feb. 21 and 22, with a high of only 48 degrees for Charlotte on the 22nd.

But let's enjoy the coming week. This seems like a good time to get out in the yard and clean up the mess that winter left.


Anonymous said...

I love the Weather Guy! He's the best

George said...

Steve's great. I'm starting to trust his forecasts more than the local network meteorologists. Much less hype and much more explanation!

Anonymous said...

I'm certain our local TV weather hypers will find something dire on the horizon. WCNC and their chief hyper - Brad Panovich will probably call for another BLIZZARD WARNING in about a week.

Old Snuffy said...

I love this warmer weather! Steve,over the years it always seems to me whenever we have nice warm days in the winter, the wind is always, always blowing during the day. And the warmer the winter day, the windier it is. Why is that? Is it possible to have a 70 degree day in the winter months and have less than 2 mph wind during the day?

SCFree said...

Heading down to Myrtle Beach next weekend. Please, please please, no snow!!

Steve Lyttle said...

Next weekend should be fabulous, if all goes right. We're talking about 65 to 70 degrees.

Steve Lyttle said...

For Old Snuffy ... Warm in the winter usually means breezy. Often, the warm days are shortly ahead of a frontal passage, where the pressure difference (gradient) is big. The air rushes in to fill the gap, and we get wind. And sometimes, a gusty wind comes down the mountains. As wind comes down the mountains, it compresses and heats up. That's another reason why warm days often are windy days.

HokieTT said...

I concur that this blog is a wonderful addition to the CO. You aggregate different sources, compare and contrast them, and explain them in layman's terms without hyping worst/best case scenarios. I would rather be presented with all views than be sold a certain one that someone else decided I should digest. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

1st weekend of March,1980- eight inches of snow and about four degree low- bring it on!

gerry hostetler said...

You're fine wine, Steve - improving with age. I enjoy your weather stories and trust them more than the TV hype and drama.

Cheers 'n stuff,