By Paul T. Choate
Sept. 24, 2012. It is hard to believe that less than a month ago the High Country was seeing temperatures in excess of 80 degrees. Now temperatures are already dipping below freezing at high elevations and frost advisories are being released.
According to Ray’s Weather Center, temperatures on Banner Elk dipped to 30.6 degrees last night for the first time since April 23. Though that is a couple of weeks earlier than when temperatures usually hit the freezing mark for the first time, it is nowhere near the earliest ever recorded. Ray’s Weather said the earliest date for a sub-freezing temperature ever recorded in the region was Sept. 5, also in Banner Elk.
According to Bernie Knepka, of Fred’s General Mercantile in Beech Mountain, the weather station at their store recorded a low temperature of 33 degrees last night. Given that Beech Mountain is typically slightly colder than Banner Elk, Knepka said the lower temperature at Banner Elk was the result of what is known as an inversion.
On Grandfather Mountain, temperatures did not quite dip as low as in Banner Elk and Beech Mountain, reaching 37.8 degrees.
In Boone and Blowing Rock, temperatures dropped down to 45 degrees.
The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a frost advisory for the High Country last night, and several areas recorded their first frost of the season.
“We had frost up here,” said Knepka. “We had covered up our pumpkins and everything as a precaution, but there was definitely frost on the cars and on the rooftops.”
The NWS has again issued a frost advisory for the deeper valleys tonight in the region. Low temperatures for tonight are forecasted to be 38 degrees in Boone and 44 degrees in Banner Elk, but could dip lower at high elevations such as Beech Mountain and Grandfather Mountain.