The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

January 10, 2013

Spring-like weather in forecast


The Daily Southerner

TARBORO — Spring-like weather is in the forecast this weekend, giving Edgecombe County folks a chance to enjoy outdoor activities and save a little on heating bills.

“It looks like it’s going to be pretty warm,” said Brandon Vincent, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Raleigh. “High pressure aloft will strengthen over the Southeast and Carolinas this weekend and will result in near record [temperature] values.”

Highs will be in the lower 70’s on Saturday, while the high temperature on Sunday could reach 75 degrees. The record for Saturday’s high in Raleigh is 76 degrees, and that record was set in 1890. Sunday’s record high in Raleigh is 78 degrees, and that was set in 2005.

“We probably won’t break these records, but we’ll get close to them,” Vincent said. He said no rain is in the forecast for Saturday and Sunday, but there will be some cloud cover. This weekend’s temperatures will be at least 20 degrees higher than last weekend’s near-normal temperatures for January – 49 degrees for a high on Saturday, with a low of 25.

“The warm weather will continue through early next week,” Vincent said. The forecast high for Monday is 69 degrees. Showers and a cool down are in the forecast for Tuesday, but temperatures will remain above normal for this time of year.

While the warm weather is good news for county residents, a prolonged warm spell this time of year might be bad news for wheat farmers.

“We don’t like to see a whole lot of really warm weather from the wheat standpoint in the wintertime,” said Art Bradley, county extension director for the North Carolina Cooperative Extension. He explained that warm weather can cause too much growth to the plants and when the weather becomes cold again, the first freeze can damage the buds so that they won’t produce seed.

If the warm weather continues throughout the winter, this summer might hold a “human hazard,” – an increase in the number of fire ants.

“We really would like to have some good, cold, normal winter weather to knock back some of the fire ant populations,” Bradley said.

As Bradley noted, the weather in northeast North Carolina “fluctuates a lot,” and it’s hard to know what’s in store for the next couple of weeks. Since New Year’s, Edgecombe County has seen everything from strong thunderstorms and temperatures in the upper 60’s on Jan. 2 to chilly nights with temperature in the low 20’s last weekend.