(WGHP) – On Wednesday, meteorological winter will end and meteorological spring begins. Before we head into the warmer months and longer days, let’s take a look back at the strange winter we had in the Triad.
From the coldest Christmas Eve on record to a rainy January and a record-warm February, this winter has been anything but normal.
In a typical year, December and January are our coldest months and typically bring the best snow chances for North Carolina.
While December and January did end up being some of our colder months, particularly December, Mother Nature decided snow was not in store for the Triad and that rain and warm temperatures would suffice this winter.
December started off with a mixed bag of above- and below-normal temperatures and over the 31 days, we saw a temperature spread of 61 degrees.
Our warmest temperature was 66 degrees on December 30. The Triad observed three 60+ degree days for the final month of 2022.
On Dec. 23, a cold air outbreak occurred resulting in 53 consecutive hours below freezing in the Triad. From 8 a.m. on Dec. 23 to 1 p.m. on Dec. 26, temperatures remain below 32 degrees.
The result was a record-cold Christmas Eve. Our coldest morning temperature occurred on Christmas Eve with a low of 5 degrees and our coldest afternoon occurred the same day with a high of 26 degrees.
This made Christmas Eve 2022 the coldest on record for the Triad, breaking the previous record of 28 degrees set in 1943.
While we didn’t see measurable snowfall in December, some saw a wintry mix as temperatures plummeted on Dec. 23. The wintry mix resulted in a trace of snow recorded at the airport.
While we had a few warm days in December, the overall trend was colder than normal. The mean average temperature was 39.8 degrees, which was more than three degrees colder than the normal of 42.5 degrees.
Mild and wet January
While December was cold, January ended up being quite wet. Rainfall was recorded at the airport for nearly 50% of January. We observed 15 days with a trace or more of rainfall.
January rainfall was approximately one inch above normal for the first month of the year.
Out of the 31 days in January, 18 days were considered mostly cloudy to cloudy.
Despite the rain and cloud cover throughout the month, we weren’t able to see the cold air and moisture line up which meant another month in the Triad without measurable snowfall.
The closest we got to snow in January was on the 14th when cold air and lingering moisture were able to briefly overlap, resulting in short-lasting flurries around 2 a.m. in the eastern half of the Triad.
Also noteworthy for January, it was the sixth warmest January on record for the Triad. The coldest temperature was observed the morning of January 15 with a low of 23 degrees. Our coldest afternoon occurred on January 8 with a high of 37 degrees, 4.6 degrees below normal for the date.
After three 60-degree days were observed in December, of course we had to top that number to kick off the new year.
The Triad recorded seven 60+ degree days in January. The warmest day was on Jan. 3 with a high of 68 degrees, 19 degrees warmer than normal.
Record warm February
Punxsutawney Phil may have predicted six more weeks of winter, but North Carolina said absolutely not.
As of Feb. 26, the Triad is on track to see the second warmest February on record.
February’s normal mean average temperature is 42.8 degrees through Feb. 26, the Triad is currently sitting at an average of 50.1 degrees, eight degrees warmer than normal. Overall, both high and low temperatures have averaged seven degrees warmer than normal.
In the first 26 days of February, there have been ten 60-degree days, four 70-degree days and one 80-degree day. This totals 15 days in February where temperatures were warmer than 60 degrees, doubling the number of 60+ degree days we observed in January.
On Feb. 23, the Triad observed a record-high temperature of 81 degrees. This is only the fifth time on record we’ve seen high temperatures in the Triad reach the 80s in February.
Not only was 81 degrees a record high for the date, but it also tied the monthly record high temperature for February.
While we certainly had a taste of spring-like weather in February, we also had a few cold days. The coldest day of the month was Feb. 4 with a morning low of 21 degrees and a high temperature of 41 degrees.
Super Bowl Sunday was historic for the Triad as we set a daily rainfall record for Feb. 12. While everyone was eating snacks and watching football, persistent rain fell throughout the day, resulting in 1.25 inches of rainfall.
This also means that every daily rainfall record in February is now over 1 inch.
The mean average temperature for December through February is normally 41.6 degrees. This winter, our average is approximately 3.5 degrees warmer with a mean average temperature of 45.1 degrees for winter 2022-2023.
This means the Triad’s winter has been warmer than normal overall, despite the record cold snap in December.
We have not received measurable snowfall this winter. The last time the Triad made it through the winter months with only a trace of snowfall was in winter 1991-1992.
We have, however, recorded trace amounts twice during the three-month span.
And we’ve certainly seen rain. December, January and February have received above-normal rainfall. The three months totaled 10.95 inches of rainfall which is nearly two inches more than the winter normal.
Due to the abundance of rain this winter, drought conditions have been eliminated not just in the FOX8 viewing area but in nearly all of North Carolina.
Now that winter is coming to a close, the FOX8 Weather Team will be keeping an eye on what the Triad can expect in March and meteorological spring.