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North Carolina Winter Weather Awareness Week
November 28 - December 4, 2010


Monday    Tuesday    Wednesday    Thursday    Friday   


THIS WEEK HAS BEEN DECLARED WINTER WEATHER AWARENESS WEEK IN NORTH
CAROLINA. ALL WEEK LONG THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE WILL BE ISSUING
INFORMATIVE MESSAGES TO HELP YOU PREPARE FOR WINTER WEATHER.

EACH DAY WE WILL COVER A DIFFERENT TOPIC. TODAY WE WILL TALK ABOUT
THE TYPES OF WINTER STORMS AND THEIR EFFECTS.

WINTER STORMS BRING SIGNIFICANT AND SOMETIMES RAPID CHANGES IN THE
WEATHER WHICH CAN GREATLY AFFECT OUR LIVES AND SAFETY. WINTER STORMS
CAN DEVELOP AND LAST FOR SEVERAL DAYS. THEY ARE OFTEN ACCOMPANIED BY
HIGH WINDS, FREEZING RAIN OR SLEET, HEAVY SNOWFALL, AND COLD
TEMPERATURES. PEOPLE CAN BECOME TRAPPED IN THEIR CARS OR AT HOME FOR
LONG PERIODS OF TIME WITHOUT UTILITIES OR OTHER NECESSARY SERVICES.

WINTER STORMS CAN RESULT FROM A VARIETY OF WEATHER PATTERNS HOWEVER
THE TWO MOST COMMON AND DANGEROUS WEATHER FEATURES WHICH SUPPORT
WINTER STORMS ARE NOREASTERS AND COLD AIR DAMMING.

NOREASTERS ARE POWERFUL LOW PRESSURE SYSTEMS THAT DEVELOP JUST OFF
THE CAROLINA COAST. THE REASON THE NORTH CAROLINA WATERS ARE SO
FAVORABLE FOR NOREASTER DEVELOPMENT IS DUE TO THE PROXIMITY OF THE
GULF STREAM. WHEN COLD AIR RUSHES OUT OVER THE OCEAN AND OVER THE
GULF STREAM IT SOMETIMES CREATES A VERY UNSTABLE AND VOLATILE
SITUATION. WHEN THIS COMBINES WITH INCREASED ENERGY OF THE POLAR JET
IN THE UPPER LEVELS OF THE ATMOSPHERE A NOREASTER CAN RAPIDLY
DEVELOP RESULTING IN HIGH WINDS, FLOODING, AND HEAVY SNOWFALL.

WATER LEVELS INCREASE ACROSS AREAS ADJACENT TO SOUTHERN PORTION OF
THE PAMLICO SOUND WHEN STRONG AND PERSISTENT NORTH TO NORTHEAST WINDS
DEVELOP. SUSTAINED NORTH TO NORTHEAST WINDS OF 35 TO 40 KNOTS FOR A
DURATION OF 12 HOURS, OR SUSTAINED WINDS OF 40 KNOTS FOR A SHORTER
DURATION WILL CAUSE WATER LEVELS TO RISE TO AROUND 4 FEET. CEDAR
ISLAND, SOUTH RIVER, HARLOWE, NEW BERN, ORIENTAL, AND BAYBORO ARE
SOME OF THE AREAS VULNERABLE TO FLOODING WITH THESE CONDITIONS. WHEN
STRONG WEST AND SOUTHWEST WINDS OCCUR SOUND-SIDE FLOODING CAN RESULT
ON THE OUTER BANKS. SUCH WAS THE CASE IN MARCH OF 1993 WHEN THE
SUPERSTORM MOVED WEST OF THE AREA. WATER LEVELS ROSE TO 4 TO 6 FEET
ABOVE NORMAL FROM AVON TO RODANTHE.

COLD AIR DAMMING CAN IMPACT AREAS AS FAR EAST AS THE COASTAL PLAINS.
THIS OCCURS WHEN COLD HIGH PRESSURE PASSES TO THE NORTH AND COLD
NORTH TO NORTHEAST WINDS DEVELOP. THIS COLD AIR IS HEAVY AND BACKS
UP AGAINST THE MOUNTAINS AS IT FLOWS THE SOUTH. THE MOUNTAINS ACT AS
A DAM CAUSING THE COLD AIR TO PILE UP ACROSS THE PIEDMONT AND
SOMETIMES AS FAR EAST AS THE COASTAL PLAIN. WHEN LIGHTER WARM MOIST
AIR OVERRUNS THIS POOL OF COLD AIR FREEZING RAIN, SLEET AND SNOW CAN
RESULT. WINTER STORMS SUCH AS THESE CAN MAKE TRAVEL EXTREMELY
HAZARDOUS. THE AFTERMATH OF A MAJOR WINTER STORM CAN HAVE A
SIGNIFICANT IMPACT ON A COMMUNITY OR AN ENTIRE REGION. WINTER STORMS
ARE CONSIDERED TO BE DECEPTIVE KILLERS BECAUSE MOST DEATHS ARE
INDIRECTLY RELATED TO THE STORM. PEOPLE DIE IN TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS ON
ICY ROADS, FROM HEART ATTACKS WHILE SHOVELING SNOW, OR SUCCUMB TO
FIRES OR CARBON MONOXIDE WHILE TRYING THE HEAT THEIR HOMES
IMPROPERLY.

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National Weather Service
Newport/Morehead City, NC Weather Forecast Office
533 Roberts Rd, Newport, NC 28570
(252) 223-5737
mhx.webmaster@noaa.gov
Page last modified: November 27, 2010
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