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The Threat Of Snow: When Is It Over?

With blue skies, sunshine and high temperatures in the low 60s tomorrow, snow will be a distance memory to those of us in eastern Carolina. While these conditions are in stark contrast to the general perception of winter weather, we are a ways away from declaring an early spring (despite what Punxsutawney Phil's shadow may indicate).

The National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) has been collecting data at the Coastal Carolina Regional Airport in New Bern since 1948. After going over historical snow data, it is clear we are still in the regions "snow season". Of the 54 years they have on record, it only snowed here 24 years (there was a period from October '94 to September '05 where snowfall records were not kept due to complications with their ASOS data collection method for snow). If we are to use that ratio as a benchmark for snow here in the east, that's less than a 50% chance of snow each year based on historical data. But after no snow for the past two years, we are due for some flakes.

We did get some snow earlier this month, which could lead some to think "okay, it happened, now let's all break out the lawn chairs and get ready for spring". To those of you, I say slow down, winter is still upon us. To give you an idea of snowfall timing, over 20% of our snowfall events have happened after the month of February, the latest event on record being April 11, 1989. Our heaviest snowfall event also came after February. The "Snowstorm of the Century" (as dubbed by the National Weather Service) occurred between March 1st and 3rd of 1980. Snow accumulations ranged between 1 foot to 1.5 feet, with some areas getting over 2.5 feet of snow.

Now, there is no threat of snow accumulation in the forecast for the next seven days. We do have some chilly air headed our way this weekend, but not quite cold or moist enough for any snow to stick. While there is no need to run out to the store and stock up on bread and milk, we aren't out of the woods just yet. Keep the mittens and sleds handy... just in case.


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