By Niki Morock, Meteorologist
About two weeks ago, I reminded you not to trust a randomly chosen rodent pulled from his den and asked for a weather forecast. I stand by what I said. However, I am currently seeing true signs of an early spring in the real world and in computer models.
Last weekend, I made the most of our gorgeous, warmer-than-normal weather and area state parks, and hiked on Saturday and Sunday. Given that it was barely mid-February, I was not being wary of animals that you typically see in the warmer months, and I almost stepped on a grumpy, little snake. I startled him. He startled me. We took a good, long look at each other, I snapped a slightly blurry picture with my phone while catching my breath, and then we both went our separate ways. Happily, neither of us was any worse for the encounter.
The daffodils in the yard will be blooming by next week, the forsythia is showing its yellow blossoms, and the pear tree is starting to bud. These are all signs of spring, and they are on the early side for central North Carolina. Still, it wouldn't be the first time that flowers bloomed early and then we managed to eke out one last winter storm if that were to happen.
With that thought in mind, I took a look at one of the longer-range forecast models this morning. Over the next 16 days, it appears that our temperatures will stay mostly above normal. At this point in the year, our average highs are in the mid 50s and our average lows are in the mid 30s. Our weather tomorrow and Thursday will be a little below average, but this weekend we'll watch those temperatures creep back up into the low 70s.
I don't know about you, but I don't mind a little warmth one bit. Of course, I don't hide the fact that I am a warm weather lover at heart.
I also took a look at the Climate Prediction Center's website, and they are also showing above average chances for warmer-than-normal temperatures for the foreseeable future. Does that mean that there is no way we won't get a stray winter storm? Not really. It only takes one cold day and the right conditions aligning to create an icy mess.
According to the State Climate Office of North Carolina, the latest day on record where there was at least a trace of snowfall in Louisburg (Wake Forest's closest climate reporting station) was March 28th in 1947. Our average last day of snowfall is actually February 7, so the numbers are on our side at this point if you like to play the averages.