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Recent cold weather reminds us of what winter could bring

READ MORE: Recent cold weather reminds us of what winter could bring
It is Winter Weather Awareness Week in North Carolina. Even though winter doesn't officially begin until December 21st, now is a good time to be reminded of what the season could bring. This November was a cold one! Normal highs run in the mid to upper 60's, but temperatures dropped well below that 10 days this past month. Temperatures have been below normal in December too. This may have you wondering what to expect in the coming few months. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently released its winter outlook. If El Nino were present, we could probably expect an increase in precipitation, and have cooler temperatures. If La Nina were present, we could expect drier conditions, and warmer temperatures. But neither La Nina nor El Nino is present, so the forecast will be challenging. Forecasters at the Climate Prediction Center said there is pretty much an equal chance it will be slightly cooler or warmer than normal in the Carolinas. Highs in December are around 60. In January, highs typically run in the upper 50's, but by February average temperatures are back up to around 60. The forecast also calls for drier than normal conditions across the southeast. That will not hurt our region. We have had nearly 58 inches in rainfall for the year so far - 4 inches more than normal. Whatever happens, you do not want to be caught off guard. Winter storms can form quickly, so it is important to stay informed of weather watches or warnings, along with hazardous travel conditions and power outages. Here are a few safety tips. - Have an alternative heat source in case you lose power. - Properly vent kerosene heaters and keep generators outside, away from open windows or doors - Keep fresh batteries on hand for flashlights and weather radios. - Have at least a three-day supply of water and non-perishable food. - Multiple layers of thin clothing can keep you warmer than a single layer of thick clothing. - If you have to travel, store an emergency kit in your vehicle. - If you must drive on snow- or ice-covered roads, slow down and leave plenty of room between you and other vehicles. If you can no longer drive safely, pull over!

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