By Niki Morock, Meteorologist
The sun is peeking through the clouds, and the ice and snow are melting. Feel free to join me in a loud "hooray!" As my mother, a true Yankee, said to me this morning, "The snow is pretty when it first falls, but by the third day, it's just an ugly mess."
Now that the temperature has risen above freezing and will stay there for the next week or so, does that mean our winter weather is over? The question I heard today was, "That was our one big storm, right?"
I have to answer honestly and say probably not, based on the climatology for our area. While meteorologists remind you to be vigilant by saying that it "only takes one storm," that doesn't mean you only get one storm per year. In fact, the Triangle area is more likely to see wintry mixes in early February and early March than in early January.
I did take a look at the Climate Prediction Center's outlook for the next week, two weeks, one month, and three months, and our area does have a better chance than usual to see warmer than average temperatures through the rest of the winter and into early spring. So, maybe this past weekend's storm was it for us. Maybe.
You see, this is where I have to say that it only takes one storm. While the next three months really could produce warmer than average temperatures overall, there still could be a day or two or three embedded in that time span with another perfect setup for another wintry mess. In fact, the GFS model is showing a possible winter storm taking shape on January 26.
Do I trust long-range models to be accurate that far out? No. Please don't take that one sentence and run with it as if the next winter storm is a forgone conclusion. My point is that between now and that date, we could see a long stretch of warmer than normal temperatures, and then suddenly have a cold snap and snowfall for a day. Rebounding back to warmer than normal within a day or two afterward would increase our three-month average despite having one more frigid winter storm embedded in those months.
If you're a snow lover, it may be good news to hear that we could have more this season. If you're not a snow lover, it may be a bummer. No matter what your preference, if you have lived in Wake Forest for a while, you know that winter typically lasts through early March here regardless of what a rodent may predict in February. I'll wait a few more weeks before I get on that soap box.