Stunning sunset: Another day in Western North Carolina’s winter weather

Timing is everything, especially when weather conditions change as quickly as they do in the mountains. Tuesday morning, Feb. 19, brought huge fluffy snowflakes to the higher elevations, quickly adding up to a couple of inches of snow. The whiplash of a day ended with a stunning sunset that was enhanced by concentric halos around the setting sun.

December makes its big entrance

The month of December had been off to a warm start in Western North Carolina, with the average temperature in Asheville for the first 10 days of the month reported at 10.2° F above normal.  However, Dec. 10’s nighttime cold front brought an end to the warmth. It is feeling like the holiday season has finally arrived — even bringing some light snow to the higher elevations in WNC. The image below shows a light dusting of fine snow on a white pine at 4,000 ft in Madison County on Tuesday morning, Dec. 11.

Lots of water

The beginning of this week started with significant rainfall over the region thanks to a large weather system that dumped a record amount of rainfall in Asheville on Tuesday, Sept. 18, and provided more rain in two days than we usually expect during the entire month of September!  Our area’s rivers and streams are doing their job of transporting that water downstream — but the evidence of all that moisture was still hanging around early this morning in the form of low clouds.  I shot the image below earlier today as the clouds were beginning to break at 4000 feet — revealing the early fall color that is starting to appear on ridgetops.

A stormy pattern – but so much better than the alternative

It’s hard to overstate the importance of water to the Earth’s climate system. In its three phases — liquid, solid and gas — water helps to drive our local weather as well as our regional climate. Most of us don’t think about plain ol’ water too often, but it’s when we have too much or too little of this precious resource that we really pay attention to it.