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Best time of the year in the Carolinas

October splendor is here in the Carolinas and in my humble opinion this is the best month weather wise in the Carolinas. April would be a close second but for reasons I’ll explain October might be the best month of the year. October is usually defined weather wise as a month with mild sunny days and cool nights. You have to love that the average high for October is 73 and the average low is 51. April by the way is actually a tad cooler with an average high equal to October 10-7-09_viaduct_wcncat 73 but an average low of 49 which is cooler. April is dryer and the driest month all year at 2.95" of average rainfall compared to Octobers 3.66", but it always seems like there is more in April especially with the severe weather. Octobers has autumn color of trees changing from green to a rainbow of colors, and April has the rainbow of spring flowers.10-6-09_wcnc Seems like a tie until you think about allergies, while rag weed and mold can be a problem in October, April has just about every allergen known to man in the air. Combine that with the lack of rainfall to clean those allergens and that could seal the deal.

10-6-09_meadowsPictures by: Kristen Pickeral/Grandfather Mountain,Catherine Morton/Grandfather Mountain), Jim Morton

24 Hours of Booty Ride Forecast

Things are looking pretty good for the annual ride through Myers Park.

Temperatures will be warming up Saturday afternoon, but rain chances remain small and dew points will be pretty nice for late July. The humidity levels will be decreasing most of Friday and into Friday night making for good riding which will last into Saturday. Winds will be swinging around to the Northwest late Friday and then back to the Southwest late Saturday. Here is where you might run into head winds on the course.

Friday night as  you can see headwinds likely Friday night along the western part of the loop, but the wind speeds here will ne about 3-6 mph from the northwest. Good thing this is mostly downhill which will offset the pedaling need to battle the headwinds.

booty loop Friday

Saturday the winds will be swinging around to the southwest so headwinds will hit you in the eastern part of the course and the wind speed will increase with daytime heating to around 10-15 mph.

booty loop Saturday

Temperatures will be seasonally cool Friday night through Saturday morning. Late Saturday temperature will approach 90 degrees with sunshine so hydration will be a concern for all the day time riders Saturday.

Here’s an hour by hour forecast of course conditions graphed out.


hourly for booty


Conditions should be ideal for this time of year will a nice Friday night through Saturday morning, rain free and a tad cool for this time of the year. Saturday the heat builds along with some humidity so the afternoon through evening riding Saturday will be the warmest along with the biggest headwinds. Unlike years past thunderstorms chances are much lower and the only threat from storms will come Saturday late afternoon and evening around 30%.


Friday night partly clear low near 66

Saturday partly sunny with a 30% chance for storms highs around 90.

I’ll keep updating for the forecast for riders during the week via Twitter.

Good Riding!


Brad Panovich

Chef Meteorologist


Charlotte, NC

The short growing season of 2008

ThDrip irrigation creates icicles and forms an insulation and way of protecting oranges on the trees Saturday, Jan. 13, 2007, in Exeter, Calif.Federal lawmakers announced bills Wednesday Feb. 7, 2007 to provide more than $1.2 billion in grants, low-interest loans and assistance to growers and workers affected by a recent crop freeze, last year's heat wave and flooding.e Charlotte area has been going through a pretty cool period temperature wise since the beginning of 2008. May 2009 was able to be 0.1 degrees above average but it was only the 4th month above average in the past 16 months. Overall the past year and 4 months has been a cool one. One statistic that went almost unnoticed by many including myself was that in the 2008 calendar year Charlotte had the second shortest growing season on record. The growing season is defined by the time between the last freeze in the Spring and the first freeze in the autumn. Last year 2008 that period was a mere 186 days, the last freeze was 4/16 and the first freeze was 10/20 last year. The shortest growing season on record here is 181 days set in 1963. When you look at the top ten shortest growing seasons in Charlotte history 5 or half of them have occurred since the year 2000.



279 2/25-12/2 1946 181 5/2-10/31 1963
270 2/18-11/16 1997 4/19-10/18 2001
269 2/20-11/16 1880 186 4/16-10/20 2008
267 3/1-11/24 1938 4/10-10/14 2006
266 3/1-11/23 1935 4/25-10/29 2005
4/5-10/9 2000
192 4/10-10/20 1974
193 4/11-10/22 1976
4/9-10/20 1972

The Wet May of 2009

Okay so it seems like it has been a wet Spring when it really has just been near average. That was until May hit, this month will go on record as the 3rd wettest May in the past 34 years. To date(5/29) we have received 7.29” of rainfall at the airport that is 3.99” above average and now makes us 1.53” above for the year(19.72” in 2009).

Wettest Mays in the past 34 years

May 1975 12.48”

May 2003 10.69”

May 2009 7.29”

Digging deeper into the numbers its amazing that this May we have seen more rain then the previous 4 Mays combined! Goes to show you how dry the past few years have been in the Spring.

May 2009                 7.29”

May 2004-2008        6.45”

Some other interesting facts are that we set 2 daily rainfall records this month, May 5th 2.40” and again on May 24th 1.03” (Coca-Cola 600 Sunday).

Other notes both the wet Mays of 2003 and again this May 2009 have been responsible for eliminating drought conditions completely across the Carolinas in both those years.

Charlotte Rainfall wettest & driest months and years. (Source NOAA)


CHARLOTTE, NC 1878 Jan 2009
TRACE OCT 2000 26.23 2001
TRACE OCT 1953 26.91 1986
0.01 MAY 1936 28.61 2007
0.02 OCT 1963 29.71 1925
0.02 SEP 1954 29.88 1933
0.05 SEP 1926 33.63 1941
0.06 SEP 1961 34.27 1988
0.10 OCT 1920 34.46 1951
0.15 JUN 1993 34.71 1963
0.19 SEP 1925 34.74 2000
0.21 MAY 1999 34.75 1950
16.55 JUL 1916 68.44 1884
14.72 OCT 1990 67.07 1936
14.61 AUG 1908 64.60 1886
13.14 AUG 1928 62.82 1901
12.66 SEP 1945 62.63 2003
12.48 MAY 1975 62.09 1975
11.68 JUL 1944 59.90 1880
11.24 DEC 1931 59.09 1944
11.13 MAR 1891 58.35 1885
11.13 SEP 1928 57.09 1883
11.04 JUN 1886 57.04 1979
11.04 MAY 1886

Cold Winter for the Great Lakes

Lake Superior satellite image

The NWS in Marquette MI writes:

Due to the recent cold spell and below normal temperatures for much of the winter of 2008-2009, ice covers nearly all of Lake Superior. Only small areas of open water remain. This image was taken on Tuesday, March 3rd. If arctic air does not return in the next couple of weeks, it is likely that this will be the day of maximum ice cover on Lake Superior for this winter as warmer weather and periods of stronger winds through the end of this week will cause open water areas to expand.



Google Earth images of March 1st Snow Storm

march2009 snow



Another great look at the snow from space!


Notice all the snow showing up 2 day after the storm, all the white except what over the Atlantic is snow cover on the ground!

Macrh 1, 2009 Snowfall Totals

March in like a Lion… I’d say so!

Picture from Air Star 36 over Gaston County, NC

What a  wild Sunday and start to the turbulent month of March. March is often a crazy month and this storm should leave no doubt. I working on compiling all the totals and data and hope to post something later today or tonight. Depends on how busy I get back in the Storm Center.

Here are some amazing facts about the storm, in the first time I have seen this Charlotte set both a record rainfall for the day and a record snowfall for March 1st.

Rainfall 2.18”    (old record 2.17 2007)

Snowfall 4.0”    (old record 3.0” 1969)

All this happened in a 24 hour period on March 1, 2009!

Here’s a quick satellite showing the swath of

snow from space.


Hey you can follow me now on Twitter as well!   Twitter

Guest Blogger

“Watts up with that” is probably one of my favorite blogs around and enjoy reading Anthony’s writings daily, so I’m linking to a great primer on the green house effect explained. Enjoy!