Friday, January 18, 2013

That was one crazy weather week!

The week has not ended, but it appears as if our wild weather has, fortunately.

We've gone from late spring, to fall, to winter -- all in a span of five days. We've tied or broken records for warm temperatures and rainfall. We've had thundersnow, regular snow, and flooding.

A blast of cold air -- the coldest we've seen in probably two years -- is coming early next week. But we'll have time to discuss that later.

In the meantime, let's take a look at some of the amazing weather of our past week in the Charlotte region and the rest of the Carolinas, in no particular order:

-- Charlotte's high temperature last Sunday was 75 degrees, which tied a record for the date and was about 25 degrees above the average high for that time of year. That came a day after we had a 73-degree high.

-- The weather turned cooler in Charlotte late in the week, but not to the south of us. On Thursday, while Charlotte dealt with a cold rain and temperatures in the upper 40s, it was nearly 80 degrees as close as Columbia and Florence (about 90 to 100 miles away).  Get in the car, drive 90 minutes, and switch from overcoat to shorts and T-shirts.

-- The warm front that divided winter and late spring on Thursday pushed south late in the afternoon. Temperatures fell from 78 degrees in Columbia to 50 degrees in three hours.

-- Mountain rainfall was excessive, and it certainly put a dent in drought conditions. Some totals I saw this morning included (for the past seven days): 12.18 inches at Wallace Gap, in Macon County in the western mountains; 9.33 inches at Highlands; 8.57 inches at Sylva; 7.39 inches at Elkville, in Wilkes County; 6.49 inches at Ararat, in Surry County; 4.99 inches at Healing Springs, in Davidson County; and 4.81 inches at Jacobs Fork, in Burke County.

-- Rainfall on Thursday from the strong low pressure system was 2.38 inches at Charlotte's airport. That set a record for the date.

-- Thursday's rain in Charlotte was the most since May 8 (2.41 inches). And Thursday's rain was 3 1/2 times the total for the entire month of November.

-- Shelby recorded 3.1 inches of rain Thursday. That was the most for the day anywhere in the United States.

-- There were numerous reports Thursday night in the area of thundersnow.  WCNC's Brad Panovich did a nice job in an Observer chat Thursday of explaining the phenomena. You need about 60 degrees' difference from ground temperature to the top of the cloud for a thunderstorm to form. That's not hard to find in summer. It is in winter. But on Thursday night, with air temperatures around 35 degrees, the extremely cold tops of clouds in the strong low pressure system were around minus-30 degrees.

What will next week bring?


Anonymous said...

The snowflakes on Thursday were better than the swarms of bugs in the air on Sunday last week.