2012 showed unique weather patterns

Jan. 29, 2013 @ 06:33 AM

The weather has been a little unusual over the last few weeks with temperatures in the 70s mixed in with rain and sleet over the last few weeks.

But, in 2012, North Carolina had close to 70 different weather-related records broken, according to a report issued last week by the National Climate Data Center (NCDC).

While Rutherford County didn't have any particular weather records broken, 2012 was a "unique" year for weather.

National Weather Service Climate Program Leader at the Greenville/Spartanburg International Airport John Tomko said that the year even started with "different" weather for the county and western North Carolina.

"We had a very, very warm winter early in the year," Tomko said. "From December through February, we had the warmest winter ever in Asheville and the fourth-warmest in Charlotte."

That warm weather is attributed to the different ridge patterns that came into North Carolina during the winter. Ridge patterns usually occur during summer months and bring warm air with it. Tomko said that North Carolina also had a La Niña system hovering over the East Coast during the winter months, which brought with it dry air.

He said that the weather during the summer was close to normal with the exception of a brief time between June and July where the region saw very hot temperatures with little to no precipitation.

"We also wound up having a very hot end of June and into July," Tomko said. "It didn't really last a long time, but we shattered a lot of records during that time."

However, after that time, the weather patterns created a more moderate summer where the county, and other areas, experienced a milder summer.

In fact, from the middle to end of July, the average temperature in the area was 81.7 degrees, making it the coolest since 2009.

"It isn't that it was cool, but the previous years were considerably hotter," Tomko said.

August was the coolest since 2004 with an average temperature in the 70s.

"In the rest of the year, there was really nothing extraordinary," Tomko said. "We did have the coolest November since 2008 and December was rather warm — it was the warmest since 2007."

Now, in 2013, Rutherford County has experienced topsy-turvy weather conditions, with some temperatures at or near 70 degrees on some days with other days more normal with temperatures in the 50s.

Tomko said that the above-average temperatures are expected to last over the course of the winter months.

"We are in a borderline weak wet pattern so far and we are watching other patterns from the northeast," Tomko said. "Our forecast for the rest of the winter is above-average and our precipitation outlook is also above-normal, so that could mean warm and wet."