Weather

We've mentioned the polar vortex several times in recent days.

We've said, for instance, that it's "a low pressure system that's usually whirling around the North Pole but has weakened and come south."

But we're still getting asked this question:

 Image of a branch that has been subjected to freezing rain within the previous 24 hours. Note the branch is completly encapsulated in ice. Some melting has occurred as temperatures were around 0 Celsius
David Park, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada on 27 Dec 2009. / Wikipedia Creative Commons

It will feel a lot like a breezy spring morning across much of the state, but temperatures will turn icy this afternoon and into tomorrow.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Phil Badgett said temperatures will be in the 60s in some places early in the day, before an Arctic cold front moves in this afternoon.

“We're looking for lows tonight of between 5 and 10 degrees,” Badgett says. “And we haven't been that cold since January of 1996.”

Badgett says his colleagues call cold fronts like these "The Polar Express".

 Image of a branch that has been subjected to freezing rain within the previous 24 hours. Note the branch is completly encapsulated in ice. Some melting has occurred as temperatures were around 0 Celsius
David Park, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada on 27 Dec 2009. / Wikipedia Creative Commons

Winter weather has made for treacherous roadways in the Piedmont over the last couple of nights.

Barrett Smith is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Raleigh. He says freezing rain is responsible for a number of traffic accidents in Chapel Hill and the Northern Triangle.

Smith says that freezing rain occurs when the air on the ground is colder than the air in the clouds.

A winter weather advisory (purple) remains in effect for areas west of the Triangle.
National Weather Service / noaa.gov

Forecasters say a winter storm is ready to drop heavy rain across North Carolina, but temperatures are high enough to avoid sleet or snow. 

The system is sweeping through the mountains, Charlotte and the Triad, and will move east throughout the day on Tuesday.  Meteorologist Ryan Ellis says the steady rain will start with the morning commute.

"It definitely is going to be a heavy-rain event and a long-duration event," Ellis says.

Hurricane Evacuation route sign
Wikimedia Commons

A new survey will gather information about coastal residents' attitudes and behaviors regarding hurricane evacuations. For the next month, local and state emergency officials will be conducting phone interviews to find out how residents react to evacuations and how to better implement emergency practices, like transportation and sheltering decisions. The study is being conducted for North Carolina Emergency Management and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Wilmington District. 

Flooding in Chapel Hill on Sunday
Jstn568 / wunderground

Orange County continues to recover from weekend flooding, and officials are trying to secure relief funding for those displaced.

At a news conference today, Chapel Hill officials said close to 130 residences are unlivable due to water damage from weekend rain. It's unclear when, or if, people who lived in those units can go back home.

Several feet of flood waters trap cars on West Franklin St. in Chapel Hill Sunday afternoon.
Bart Smith / Facebook

Residents of Orange and Durham counties are cleaning up after torrential rain led to flood waters several feet deep. 

Officials in Chapel Hill say rescuers evacuated at least 40 people Sunday from flooded homes and vehicles.  They were taken to a Red Cross shelter at Smith Middle School. 

Rain and thunderstorms are predicted for most of North Carolina.
screengrab, ABC News radar

Scattered storms are once again in the forecast for this afternoon. The pattern of late-day thundershowers each day is not so unusual, according to meteorologist Darrin Figursky from the National Weather Service in Raleigh. He says what has been a bit atypical is the amount of widespread rainfall we've gotten as a result of these storms.

"Now a lot of that was probably due to the remnants of Andrea at the beginning of the month, where on one day we got four to five inches," Figursky says.  "So for the month with that in mind, we're running three to four inches above normal for the month. We're only maybe an inch or an inch or an inch and a quarter of being in the top five wettest Junes of all time."

A satellite image of Thursday's storm as it advanced on North Carolina.
National Weather Service, Raleigh / Facebook.com

Power was still out Friday morning for hundreds of thousands of people in North Carolina after severe storms. 

A fast-moving system swept across the state Thursday, knocking down trees and power lines.  Duke Energy Progress says nearly 60,000 people were without power Friday morning in Wake County.  Meteorologist Phil Badgett says damage reports came in quickly Thursday night.

NC Pulls Out Of Drought

Jun 14, 2013
NC Drought
US Drought Monitor

Thanks to recent rainfalls associated with Tropical Storm Andrea, North Carolina is now out of drought or abnormally dry conditions for the first time in three years.

The persistent drought has wreaked havoc on agriculture, affecting apple crops in the western part of the state and corn in the east.

Now, thanks to Tropical Storm Andrea and other rain events this spring, the state is no longer suffering from even the mildest classification of drought condition – abnormally dry or “D-zero” - for the first time in the past three years.

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