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Thunder Road Marathon Forecast

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One of the biggest running events in the Carolinas takes place this weekend. The weather is always important for runners and the good news is as cold as its been and as stormy as Sunday will be. This Saturday is looking pretty good for the race.

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For race maps and registration information check out the website. Good luck and have fun!

Coldest temperature since Feb. 2009–Updated

The low this morning in Charlotte dropped to a bone chilling low of just 12°. That breaks the record low for the date of 14° set in 1937. Even more amazing is that this low was colder than any low we had all of last winter. The coldest low we had all of the 2009-2010 winter was 15° on January 13th and 31st 2010. You’re probably saying what’s so big about that? Lets remember what happened last winter.

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Last winter was the coldest winter since the winter of 1976-77. Which was the last time that we had a Dec-Feb average temperature in the 30s. The main reason this happened wasn’t so much the night time lows but the highs and lows combined last winter never warmed up. There was a stretch in early January where the highs where in the 30s and lows where in the teen for 5 days. The average temperature those 5 days never got above 27°. That’s really cold for Charlotte! .
This December has been off to the the 6th coldest start on record. The first 6 days of the month have had an average temperature of 37.1°.  For perspective that makes our average temperature for December so far more similar to Boston, MA than Charlotte, NC. Below are some other perspectives for the past 2 weeks, thanks to SERCC.
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The pattern that has brought us this cold air isn’t going to break down for a while both the NAO (North Atlantic Oscillation) and AO(Arctic Oscillation) remain negative for the next 7-14 days. When these 2 indices are negative we get arctic air invading the eastern half of the country. Plus when they are both so negative they can cancel out the impacts of La Nina which normally brings us milder Temperatures.

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Stay Warm!

ACC Football Championship forecast

Kick off is 7:45 pm at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, NC

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Tailgating Forecast: Noon-7pm

Cloudy with chilly temperatures in the mid to upper 40s. There could be some very light rain that would start as early as 3pm but think it will be closer to 4pm. Bring both the rain and cold weather gear because it will fee like winter for sure!

Game time forecast:

BOA stadium

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s the hourly timeline via NWS

 

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First flakes of the season possible across the piedmont

It seemed as soon as the calendar changed to December so did our weather. The temperatures have dropped big time into the 40 for highs and the 20s for lows and now there is even a chance for our first few flakes of snow. Lets be clear a few flakes doesn’t equal accumulations. You won’t be making snowmen, sledding or having a snowball fight this weekend. You will though if outside at the ACC football Championship game at Bank of America stadium see some light rain mixed with a few wet snowflakes Saturday night. Here’s what might happen.

The NAM model we use is showing a fast moving clipper system moving out of the Midwest and diving southeast towards the Carolinas. These types of systems are usually moisture starved and primarily bring snow showers and cold to the great lakes. The blue line below is where the arrow is point to is the freezing line or in this case the rain/snow line. Notice the green areas that is the moisture which isn’t great unless some Atlantic moisture can get pulled in and even if that happens the speed of system would keep snow/rain totals down. This image is from Saturday evening.

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The next image is 6 hours later Sunday morning and notice the cold air or snowline has moved further south. But the moisture is moving out fast.

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What you are basically seeing here is a a few light rain showers ending as a few flurries for the Charlotte metro area. This bears out when you look at the temperatures profiles from the same model below. The green is all rain but it might be just cold enough for a few flakes of snow around Charlotte.

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The story changes quite a bit the further north when you go like around the I-40 corridor. This sounding is from Hickory and shows much more snow in blue mixing in than rain which is in Green.

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Here’s what the NAM model thinks about accumulations which is way overdone in my opinion. Even if you get this snow to fall the ground is way too warm for it to stick.

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So overall not a really big deal mostly a cold rain with a few flakes of snow, but if you live in the mountain this will be all snow and likely 2-4”. So it’s fun to talk about and should put us all in the holiday spirit. Oh…. and did I mention it’s going to stay very cold into next week? Smile

2010 Hurricane season comes to an end with no U.S. Landfalls

I was reading Doyle Rice in the USA Today about the end of Hurricane season, which ends Tuesday Nov. 30th. He correctly pointed out that, “For the first time in recorded history, 12 hurricanes formed this year in the Atlantic basin without a single one making landfall in the United States, according to experts at Colorado State University.” The season was indeed active if you look at the number of storms, but what I’ve been saying and what we are seeing is that the number of storms in the Atlantic has been too much of the focus in seasonal forecasts. We had 19 named storms, (4 never should have IMO) yet for the second season in a row there were no U.S. landfalls. There has not been a U.S. landfall of a hurricane since Ike in 2008.at2010 Now to be fair this is a very United States centric observation because Central America and the Caribbean got hit hard. Even so most of the destruction and deaths in those regions were due to fresh water flooding and landslides not storm surge or wind. There are always other factors in less developed regions of the world than just the weather. What we are learning is that the number of storms in a season is a meaningless number unless you know where those storms are going. For instance Hurricane Andrew struck the U.S. in 1992 as the first storm of the season and is still the second costliest hurricane behind Katrina. The year Andrew hit there were only a total of 6 named storms in the Atlantic. Imagine the headlines before that season if we had a seasonal forecast calling for 6 named storms? People might have thought what a weak and calm season when the average number of named storms is 10. This leads to a huge confusion with the public when the seasonal forecasts come out. Some of this is due to the headline writers in the media who mistakenly confuse an active season with a bad season. That’s not always the case because in 1992 I’m pretty sure the people of south Florida and Louisiana would argue that was a bad season even though it was an low activity hurricane season. It only takes one storm and one storm hitting the wrong stretch of coastline to make a bad season. We could have 20 storms that stay out to sea and never make landfall which makes for great conversation among Meteorologists on how active the season was. Though to the general public and those living on the coast they come away with the sense that it was a good hurricane season. In the future I believe as seasonal forecasts become better and better our explanation of those forecasts and the impacts on the public need to improve accordingly.

2010 Atlantic Hurricane Season Stats

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P.S. To be fair to the great seasonal forecasters of CSU, NOAA, WRC, Accuweather etc.… They do a great job forecasting numbers, steering currents and potential impacts. They too though use the “numbers” to gain attention and headlines and bear some responsibility on polluting their own well intentioned message. To quote Stu Ostro of the Weather Channel from the USA Today article, "Early indications suggest odds are for an active season in 2011," Ostro says. "But keep in mind that regardless of how many storms there are, all it takes is one to bring disaster to a particular location."

Thanksgiving Travelcast

Right now I see no concerns for automobile travel across large sections of the eastern U.S. Here’s a look at the weather impacts on car travel Wednesday

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If you are traveling by plane there could be major delays out west. Those delays could end up trickling back down into other airports back east. If those flights are slow coming east then those turnarounds back west could be slow as well. Even with really good weather on the east coast. There are already major delays already tonight at Salt Lake City.

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Here’s the air travel weather impacts map Wednesday.

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The biggest issues as always might just be congestion as everyone tries to get to their destinations for the holiday. Safe travels and have a great Thanksgiving.

Brad

Looking ahead at the Thanksgiving day forecast

Just a quick video update on what’s happening today and what I think will happen later this week for the holiday. I’ll be updating this daily through Wednesday, if you have a travel forecast question e-mail, Tweet or Facebook me your questions.

 

Arctic Air intrusion for Turkey Day?

For about the past week or so there has been a small murmur of talk among us weather geeks about Thanksgiving week weather. That murmur is growing as the long range numerical weather models have really been consistent on bringing a major cold air outbreak into the eastern U.S. the middle of next week. There have bee differences in timing and magnitude but overall the pattern forecasted has been much colder for that time period. I always caution amateur and profession Meteorologists alike to remember, weather models are called “guidance” for a reason, they are not forecasts!  You can set yourself up for a busted forecasted if you treat them as an actual forecast. Great guidance along with a skilled Meteorologist work in tandem to create good forecasts. That all being said we are only a week out and the guidance and pattern recognition along with experience are pointing to a early taste of winter late next week.

First of all two of the short range climate predictors for cold air outbreaks in the eastern U.S. are going negative. The N.A.O. which is the North Atlantic Oscillation and the A.O. the Artic Oscillation. When this two indices go negative cold air affects the eastern United States and the more negative they are the colder it gets.

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The GFS model is showing the arctic air building over Canada by tomorrow Friday Nov. 19th.

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By the time we hit Thanksgiving morning the Arctic air has mortified slightly as it plunges into the northern plains, upper mid-west and the great lakes regions.
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Then by the Saturday night Nov. 27th the eastern half of the country will be completely covered by arctic air all the way down to Northern Florida.
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If this cold air moves down like I think it will we could be talking about a severe weather outbreak along and ahead of the arctic front. A small snowstorm on the northwest side of the surface low in the Great Lakes. Then a really cold Thanksgiving weekend for the east coast. In Charlotte high temperatures may struggle to get into the mid-40s for highs Saturday and Sunday after Thanksgiving with morning lows possibly in the low 20s. This is still very far out and the location and timing of all of this will come into better focus as we get closer. One things for sure a large section of the U.S. will have a much colder weekend after thanksgiving, the only question is just how cold?

First Snow of the season for the North Carolina Mountains

The 2010-2011 ski season kicked off this past weekend when 4-5” of snowfall at many elevations above 3500’. Only Sugar Mountain in Avery County and Cataloochee in Haywood County opened though early Saturday morning. It was the second earliest opening in Sugar Mountains history and for The “Cat” if was early but not as early as Halloween weekend a few years ago. For Charlotte we saw some Graupel(soft hail) with this storm but no snow, just loads of early cold temperatures. Sunday morning we tied the record low of 26° set in 1998 and we only had a high both Saturday and Sunday of 54°. The average high is 66° and the average low is 44° for this time of the year. For more on the ski season and for my ski forecast check out skinc.comlogo

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Above is the visible satellite picture showing the snowcapped mountains of NC and TN Sunday morning.

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
SPOTTER REPORTS
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE GREENVILLE-SPARTANBURG SC
1120 AM EST SUN NOV 7 2010

THE FOLLOWING ARE UNOFFICIAL OBSERVATIONS TAKEN DURING THE PAST 2
HOURS FOR THE STORM THAT HAS BEEN AFFECTING OUR REGION. APPRECIATION
IS EXTENDED TO HIGHWAY DEPARTMENTS...COOPERATIVE OBSERVERS...SKYWARN
SPOTTERS AND MEDIA FOR THESE REPORTS. THIS SUMMARY IS ALSO AVAILABLE
ON OUR HOME PAGE AT WEATHER.GOV/GSP

********************STORM TOTAL SNOWFALL********************

LOCATION STORM TOTAL TIME/DATE COMMENTS
SNOWFALL OF
(INCHES) MEASUREMENT


NORTH CAROLINA

...AVERY COUNTY...
BEECH MOUNTAIN 4.8 1000 AM 11/7 COOP - 5053 FT.
FLAT SPRINGS 3.1 1000 AM 11/7 COOP - 3355 FT.
BANNER ELK 0.5 1000 AM 11/7 COOP - 3770 FT.

...BUNCOMBE COUNTY...
LEICESTER 3.5 1000 AM 11/7 6.3 NW COCORAHS -
2325 FT.
CANDLER 0.3 1000 AM 11/7 2.7 ENE COCORAHS -
2135 FT.

...BURKE COUNTY...
LINVILLE FALLS 0.1 1000 AM 11/7 COCORAHS 0.5 SW -
3362 FT.

...HAYWOOD COUNTY...
WAYNESVILLE 3.7 1000 AM 11/7 4.7 NW COCORAHS -
3450 FT.
WAYNESVILLE 2.9 1000 AM 11/7 4.7 W COCORAHS -
3450 FT.
WAYNESVILLE 1.8 1000 AM 11/7 3.9 E COCORAHS -
3507 FT.
WAYNESVILLE 1.0 1000 AM 11/7 0.7 ENE COCORAHS -
2680 FT.
CANTON 0.4 1000 AM 11/7 8 SSE COCORAHS -
3651 FT.

...MADISON COUNTY...
SPRING CREEK 5.5 1028 AM 11/7 MAX PATCH MOUNTAIN
LUCK 5.0 1030 AM 11/7 DOGGETT GAP
SPRING CREEK 3.0 1032 AM 11/7 SPRING CREEK VFD

...MITCHELL COUNTY...
BAKERSVILLE 2.1 1000 AM 11/7 5.4 N COCORAHS -
3832 FT.

...YANCEY COUNTY...
MOUNT MITCHELL STATE 5.0 1000 AM 11/7 COOP - 6240 FT.
BURNSVILLE 0.3 1000 AM 11/7 7 W COCORAHS - 2578 FT.
Pictures
 

Is snow really in the forecast for the Carolinas?

Some interesting model data is making for a fun forecast late this week but before you believe the rumors of snow for the piedmont take a look at my explanation of what the models are really saying.

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The two images above sure did make me have a double take, but below I explain what I think is really going on.

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