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Snow Totals Well Below Average; Mountaintops Still Seeing Fair Share of Snowfall

By Nathan Ham

There have been a few cold days this winter, but for the most part, temperatures have been mild and snowflakes have been few and far between. The precipitation has been there, but for the lower elevations, it has been almost all rainfall. 

According to data provided by Ray’s Weather Center, Boone has had just 4.3 inches of snowfall this winter. Higher elevations have been able to accumulate some much more measurable snow this winter, which has been a big help to the ski resorts who have also had to deal with plenty of rainfall. Beech Mountain has tallied 26.9 inches of snow while Sugar Mountain has the highest snowfall total in the High Country with 43.2 inches of snow. The 60-year average snowfall for Boone is 40.5 inches of snowfall per year. The average over the last 10 years has been 36.7 inches of snow, making this year’s snowfall total so far an extreme outlier. 

Rainfall has been the biggest story of this winter season. Boone has had more rainfall in the 13 days of February (4.66 inches) than the amount of snow from November through now (4.3 inches). In January, Boone had 5.86 inches of rain and in December, Boone had 3.76 inches of rain. 

Temperatures during this winter have been unseasonably warm throughout the High Country. Boone had 13 days in December where the high temperature was at least 50 degrees, including a high temperature of 61 degrees on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. December 26 was the warmest day of the month at 63.5 degrees. Boone had nine days in January with a high of at least 53 degrees and tied a record high on January 13 at 64 degrees. Even at the higher elevations, temperatures have been noticeably warmer than usual for this time of year. Beech Mountain had seven days where the temperature got about 50 degrees in January and five days already in February with the high being at least 50 degrees. Sugar Mountain has already had six days in February over 50 degrees and had seven days over 50 degrees in January. 

Looking ahead to Friday and the weekend, winter’s seasonable temperatures will return with highs in the 30s on both Friday and Saturday and highs in the 40s on Sunday. Low temperatures are expected to dip into the teens on Friday night and Saturday morning. The weekend will be nice and sunny, however, rain returns to the forecast for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday according to Ray’s Weather Center.

So far in the 2019-20 school year, Watauga County Schools have missed only seven days of school due to bad weather, half the total of what students missed in 2018-19.