One of the joys of being a meteorologist in North Carolina during winter is getting the same question over and over again: When will it snow? It’s a joy because depending on who is asking, I can be creative with my answer. I might answer a friend with an exact date and time just to make a joke. I’d answer a stranger with a bit more sincerity. My answer to my readers is an honest “I don’t know.”
Last year, Raleigh didn’t see much in the way of a wayward flurry at all. February 19th held the only snow for the Triangle during the winter of 2011-2012, and it was just an inch, which fell after a bit of mixed precipitation.* It was a warmer than normal winter.
This year, the set-up seems to be a little more snow friendly. The temperatures are trending cooler than normal, at least in the near future. Add to that an active weather pattern, and things might just work out for the snow lovers in the area. In fact, we could see some overnight flurries or frozen precipitation late Thursday night into early Friday morning depending on the timing of the rain and whether the temperature drops down to the forecasted low of 31 degrees.
Please, don’t run out for bread and milk just yet. Whatever we might see overnight, does not look to be enough to cause concern, and Friday’s high will be in the 40’s, meaning that anything that does fall will melt fast enough.
If we don’t see snow this week, then when will we see it? According to the climatology of the past 30 years, January and February are the months we typically see snow in Wake County. We’ve had a winter storm as late as April and as early as November, but January and February are by far our most popular months for snow. I can’t promise that we will see any, but I can tell you that it is more likely to happen this year than it was last year. Snow lovers, keep your fingers crossed.
*Data from the State Climate Office of North Carolina