VIDEO: Nibbles predicts 6 more weeks of winter for Asheville-attachment0

VIDEO: Nibbles predicts 6 more weeks of winter for Asheville

To the chagrin of those hoping for an early spring, Nibbles, Asheville’s very own clairvoyant groundhog, predicts six more weeks of winter weather. Or at least that was the interpretation of WLOS Chief Meteorologist Jason Boyer, who “translated” the adorable rodent’s Feb. 2 forecast at the WNC Nature Center during a Groundhog Day celebration attended by hundreds of onlookers.

Cold times: Asheville tackles bitter temperatures ***UPDATED 10 A.M.***

Thanks to a “bitterly cold arctic air mass,” in the National Weather Service’s words, Ashevilleans are grappling with “the coldest temperatures in many years,” with temperatures hitting minus 2 and wind chill as low as minus 24. The NWS warns of bad roadway conditions due to ice and snow and “dangerous wind chills.” Both city and county school systems are closed today, Jan. 7, and the Red Cross has opened warming shelters in some counties.

Invitation to readers: Soup’s on!-attachment0

Invitation to readers: Soup’s on!

With winter now in full swing, many locals are cutting the chill by turning on their slow cookers or looking for the daily soup specials at their favorite local eateries. From borscht to beef-and-barley, area residents and restaurants are cooking up spoon-friendly nourishment in myriad forms. Xpress invites readers to share tried-and-true recipes and write about their favorite soup and stew offerings at local restaurants. Send your soup submissions to food@mountainx.com.

Comet watch and coats

No doubt about it: March is off to a chilly start so far. Today’s sunny skies are almost enough to fool you into thinking that spring has arrived … until you step foot outside and the brisk breeze and cold air reminds you that it’s still late winter. If the clouds cooperate, I encourage you to bundle up and take the opportunity to spot the comet PanSTARRS low on the western horizon after sunset for the next week.

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.

Inversion and balloons (much better than inverted balloons)

Fall brings many changes to Western North Carolina, from the turning of the leaves to the turning up of the thermostat. These cooler nights mean that many of us are heating our homes with wood-burning stoves and fireplaces to ward off the chill. Most of the time, the wood smoke (along with other particulates that are in the air) mix through much of the lowest layer of our atmosphere, called the troposphere.  But when the air is cool and the winds are calm, we can occasionally see those tiny particles concentrated in the early morning air under what meteorologists call a radiational temperature inversion. Such was the case this morning, as you can see in the image below from Madison County, looking to the southeast across the valley toward the Craggies (image center) and the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Where is winter? Look to the polar vortex


Snowflakes were flying earlier this week, as Valentine’s Day started off white at the higher elevations.

Snowflakes were flying earlier this week, as Valentine’s Day started off white at the higher elevations.  This image of Max Patch in western Madison County shows the short-lived snow.  So – what has happened to this winter? Why has it been so different than the last two years?