It’s going to get colder in central North Carolina as the holidays approach, but we should still spare ourselves a frigid, cold winter.
This is because the South will experience a drier and warmer season due to La Niña, a climate pattern in the Pacific Ocean that appears once every few years.
Its descent over North Carolina means temperatures are 50% to 60% more likely to be above the Triangle’s normal highs in the 1950s and lows in the 1930s from December through February, according to the National Oceanic. and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, and the National Weather Service.
The Raleigh-Durham region also has a 33% to 40% chance of a drier-than-average winter, forecasters say.
This week, after a cold front Monday night brought temperatures down into the 1920s, we’ll have a Thanksgiving warm-up, with highs Thursday in the 60s and lows in the 40s before the cold returns on Thursday. Black Friday with a chance of early morning showers.
The only predictable rain for the region is the first Saturday in December, according to a 10-day forecast.
A warmer winter will mean less risk to outdoor plants, although the NWS recommends covering all sensitive plants at night to protect them, or bringing them back indoors.
Global warming in North Carolina appeared in October this year, which was the fifth warmest October on record for the central part of the state, according to the NWS.
Drought in North Carolina
The drier holiday season is due to the effects of the La Niña drought. A National Weather Service drought map shows that most of central and eastern North Carolina is in the Abnormally Dry designation, with the exception of central and western Wake County, as well as from eastern County Durham.
Too little rain can dry out pastures, brown lawns and stress crops.
The official winter forecast from the NOAA Climate Prediction Center has confirmed that La Niña conditions will be in place from December through February.
“As far as 2021 goes, it’s been a real story of tipping between extended wet spells and dry spells,” Kathie Dello, director of the State Climate Office, said in an email.
“We had a rainy start to the year (our second wettest winter on record at RDU, records dating back to 1945); a very dry spring (our driest on record at RDU, records dating back to 1945) and a few larger storms in the second half – but overall our last few months have been pretty dry, ”she said.
The Triangle saw just 0.09 inches of rain in November, a shortfall of nearly two inches, according to a WRAL weather forecast.
This story was originally published 22 November 2021 18:54.