What a long, strange trip it’s been…weather-wise that is. NC State Climatologist Dr. Ryan Boyles says that historically, there’s been nothing like it:
“It’s an interesting time of the year, and one of the things we’re always trying to do this time of the year is look back at what we had as well as looking ahead to the next year.
Looking back at 2011 we had a lot of extremes; we had an incredibly cold winter, we had major tornado outbreak, we had a major land falling hurricane, we had severe drought and heat in the summer, the last few months seem calm in comparison.
But, when you put all those together in one year, it’s tough to find any other year on the record that has that level of severity and so far we’re still digging into this, but so far we can’t find any other year that really compares to have all those same extremes together in the same year.”
As far as the current drought monitor goes, Boyles says that in spite of a fairly wet fall up until now, we’re by no means out of the woods:
“We certainly have had some areas that have been drier especially across the coastal plains, and a lot of improvements in the western part of the state. Really two or three good events brought a lot of good recovery to most of the streams and we’re seeing recovery in the ground water as well.
But, in the coastal plain region we haven’t seen the same rainfall, in fact, we’ve seen some expansion in the abnormally dry conditions, but we really haven’t seen any impacts, yet.”
While North Carolina is faring pretty well as far as moisture is concerned, the same can’t be said for South Carolina, according to Boyles:
“No they haven’t, neither has southern Georgia, northern Georgia, northern Alabama, western Carolinas have seen some improvement, and this is just the way the storms are tracking, and this is pretty typical for La Nina. This is the type of pattern we’re likely to see, we don’t see these storms track further east and bring the precipitation to the coastal area. We will get some storms, we’ll get some rain that comes through, but it’s not what’s typical, and therefore less likely to bring the kind of recharge that we want to see.”
Yesterday, Colorado State University announced that they would discontinue their December hurricane forecast for the next season. Boyles had these thoughts:
“They’re gong to continue to put out their hurricane forecast as we get closer to the season. But, this far in advance, what they’re saying is that there just isn’t much value to putting out a December value. The skill that they thought they had based on the long-term statistics aren’t really there in recent season they just don’t see the point. At some level, you sort of have to agree with that.”
NC State Climatologist Dr. Ryan Boyles.