RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – December is generally the third snowiest month in central North Carolina, but warmer temperatures have us wondering not when, but if we will see snow in the Raleigh area this winter.
Temperatures in the Triangle reached into the 70s Thursday, making for a rather warm first week of December.
According to CBS 17 Chief Meteorologist Wes Hohenstein, December usually accounts for about 17 percent of snowfall in central North Carolina.
That’s second to January (50 percent) and February (26 percent).
And December 2018 was the last time a significant amount of snow fell in the Triangle. On Dec. 9-10 that year, 8.9 inches of snow was measured at Raleigh-Durham International Airport.
Since then, the last time the Triangle saw more than a dusting was earlier this year — Jan. 28, 2021, when 1.6 inches fell.
But with 70s on the forecast for the first week of December, even that little bit of snow seems farfetched.
Over the last 50 years, winters in the Triangle have warmed by more than 4 degrees. This may not seem like much, but Dr. Kenneth Kunkel with North Carolina State University said it’s significant.
“It represents something real happening to our climate system,” he explained. “It’s not just part of the random fluctuations that we would normally experience.”
Winter slows down pests like ticks and mosquitoes, it’s a time where our water sources “recharge,” and some crops need a certain number of cold days to produce the best yields.
It’s also important to know that warming winters don’t mean extreme cold days are out of the question. Extreme cold will still happen, it just won’t be as frequent, or last as long.