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Submitted by Tim Buckley on Mon, 12/20/2010 - 9:37pm.
Over the past few weeks of seemingly endless cold, I think we've become dumb to how out of the ordinary this streak of frigid weather is. The fact is, our average highs our still near 60 degrees - and we continue to miss those marks by 10, 15 and 20 degrees on a consistent basis. It's been about three weeks since this cold started, and the numbers are really starting to add up now.
Looking at our stats about two-thirds of the way through the month - it's already clear this will be a December to remember. We're nearly 12 full degrees below normal for the month. After a high of 70 on December 1st, we've been at or below average for 19 straight days. The cold has been extreme at times in the mornings. So far, 12 mornings have been at least in the 20's (two have even been in the teens).
If we look at the month as a whole, we're currently running an average temperature of about 38.2 degrees. The record for coldest December in Wilmington is an average of 38.0 degrees. So you can see - if we continue this cold spell here over the next couple of weeks, it's entirely possible that we're talking about the coldest Dec. on record here in Wilmington.
So what can we blame for this relentless wrath of cold weather? It all boils down to the Jet Stream.
That fast-flowing river of air is the key to any winter forecast - separating the cold air to the north and the warm air to the south. With almost no exception, the Jet Stream has been in a perpetual dip (called a trough) over the East Coast all month long. This means there's nothing to stop cold Canadian air from plunging southward into the Carolinas.
If we can flip-flop this pattern and get a trough in the West, and a ridge in the East - than we'd be singing a different tune. But as of right now, it still looks like we're stuck with this cold pattern at least for another 7-10 days.
But hey, at this point we're used to it!
By: Tim Buckley