Eastern North Carolina is experiencing one the warmest winters in several years. December temperatures averaged about 5 degrees above normal while January has been approximately 4 degrees above normal through the 25th. We've seen a few cold days but the warmth following the cold has been longer and stronger. La Nina seasons are notorious for warmth in the Southeast and this has proven to be true once again. Last year was a La Nina year but the warmth didn't show up until the middle of February. It was followed by a dangerously hot and dry summer last year.
The big question I've been trying to tackle is whether we'll finally have a sustained period of cold air. I certainly don't see any prolonged period of cold into early February. To lock in the cold air, you need a large ridge of high pressure aloft near Greenland and thus far we've haven't seen that occur. Essentially, the ridge near Greenland forces the cold air from Canada well to the south into our area. Until that ridge develops, if at all this year, it appears unlikely any cold air will last more than a couple of days.
I'll take a look at the month of February next week to see if I can find any serious winter weather on the horizon. For now let's enjoy the mild winter weather.
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