With high temperatures in the mid 60s one day and lows in the teens the next, the start of 2015 has proved erratic in climate for southeastern North Carolina and the weather man says the trend is likely to continue.
Steve Pfaff, warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service Wilmington office, said local temperatures have not remained below or above average for numerous consecutive days due to one winter storm marching through after the other.
“We call this a progressive weather pattern where storms come in, they go out and we are not stuck in any one direction or the other,” Pfaff said.
While the extreme portions of southeastern North Carolina dodged the latest storm that dumped freezing rain on areas to the west overnight Tuesday, Jan. 14, the low temperature of 16 degrees Thursday, Jan. 8, broke the record for that day in Wilmington.
In part the fluctuating weather patterns, cooler air temperatures and increased rainfall are due to a weak El Niño system in the Pacific Ocean. That system has also caused an increase in drought conditions around much of the Pacific, including the West Coast of the United States.
“The overall big picture look for us is slightly cooler than normal and more precipitation, which is what we have been seeing,” he said.
Looking ahead, Pfaff said the next week should remain normal for this time of year with high temperatures hovering in the mid 50s and the possibility for a 60-degree day mixed in. After that, Pfaff said the weather pattern throughout the rest of January should maintain that course with a little higher chance for precipitation than normal and a possibility for higher than normal temperatures.
Once into February, Pfaff said temperatures and precipitation levels should remain normal with a break in winter storms and transition to spring beginning mid March.
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