By Paul T. Choate
Dec. 19, 2012. Everyone in the High Country realizes that it has been a bit unusually warm for this time of year compared to in recent previous years just by stepping outside. But just how much warmer is it? A look at daily lows from Nov. 25 to Dec. 19 from 2009 to 2012 might answer that.
Nov. 25 was selected as the start date of our data compilation because that tends to be a date on or right around Thanksgiving each year and right around the time when the cold weather starts being expected by locals in the area. Between Nov. 25 and today, in 2012 the average low temperature has been 34.8 degrees. This is 2.4 degrees higher than the average low for that date range last year — keeping in mind winter 2011 was unusually warm as well — and a whopping 13.4 degrees warmer than for that date range in 2010 when the average low was 21.4 degrees.
Additionally, we just haven’t had very many of those bitter cold days so far as we have in previous years. Between Nov. 25 and today this year, the coldest recorded temperature in Boone was was 22.9 degrees on Dec. 14, according to Ray’s Weather Center. The thermometer has only dipped below freezing nine times since Nov. 25 this year, compared to 17 times in 2011 and 23 times in 2010.
According to Ray’s Weather, based on data from 1929 to present, the average low in Boone for the month of December is 25.6 degrees. However, for the first 19 days of December 2012, the average low is totaling 35.7 degrees — 10.1 degrees above an 83-year average.
So what has been causing this unusually warm weather for this time of year?
“We’ve had an upper-level ridge that has been persistent in our area and as we’ve had storms come in they’ve just been going around us,” said Patrick Wilson, meteorologist with National Weather Service in Blacksburg, Va.
Wilson explained that an upper-level ridge, in layman’s terms, is a loft of high pressure that causes the atmosphere to be warmer in certain areas, as opposed to a upper-level trough that allows the atmosphere to cool down. Wilson said the cold air and winter storms have been mostly staying to our west and going up into the Great Lakes area this year.
“Every time we get these storms there is an upper-level trough with them,” he said. “But that’s not the case this year.”
Wilson also explained that there are many factors that can play into an unusually warmer period of time in a given area. He said the El Niño and La Niña debate has come up, and that although the El Niño appeared to be in the forming stages it has basically stalled and we are, in essence, in a neutral period.
But fear not, lovers of cold weather.
“If any of your readers are saying, ‘Well whree’s the cold?’ You might be getting some soon,” Wilson said.
Colder weather is indeed on the way. Ray’s Weather forecasting a low of 21 degrees on the first day of winter, Friday, Dec. 21. In recent years, the low on Dec. 21 was 49.2 degrees in 2011, 27 degrees in 2010 and 24.2 degrees in 2009.
“Today is the last mild day of 2012,” says Ray’s Weather. “A strong front moves through Thursday evening. Skies will be cloudy Thursday and rain arrives around or just after mid-day. Higher elevations will have gusty southerly winds during the day Thursday. Thunder will be possible Thursday evening as the front moves through — announcing the fact that this is a BIG CHANGE!”
For more information on weather in the High Country, visit raysweather.com.
Courtesy of Ray’s Weather Center
|Date||Low – 2009||Low – 2010||Low – 2011||Low – 2012|