The first day of winter, Dec. 21, is only a month away. Each year, the WRAL severe weather team predicts how cold temperatures will get and how much snowfall we could see in the Triangle.
This is the third year in a row we are expected to be in a La Niña pattern during the winter months.
On a local level, La Niña years typically mean warmer temperatures. WRAL meteorologists looked at winters at Raleigh-Durham International Airport in the last 52 years and found that 10 of those were La Niña years.
In every single La Niña year, with the exception of 2020, RDU experienced above-normal temperatures during the winter months.
“We are going to stick with the odds and forecast above-normal temperatures with a few cold snaps,” WRAL meteorologist Kat Campbell said.
NC expecting 2-5 inches of snow this winter
“It was another pitiful snow season for us,” Gardner said. “I’d love to get a nice snowstorm this year!”
Predicting snowfall totals is always one of the trickiest parts of a winter weather forecast. This winter, WRAL is predicting between 2 and 5 inches of snow, just under the climatological normal of 6.8 inches.
“If you love snow, keep in mind, for every La Niña year we have had at least one measurable snow event and at least three days with a trace of snow in addition to that,” Gardner said.
This is only the third time in historical record where we have had three La Niña in a row, according to WRAL meteorologist Mike Maze.
“One stretch was 1998 to 2001, and in 2000, we had 20 inches of snow at RDU,” Maze said. “So, even though we are in a La Niña period, there have been some big snows during a three year La Niña stretch.”