Above-average temperatures this week in Wayne County will take a turn by early next week as colder temperatures move into the area Sunday night.
Average temperatures during the month of December are 6.9 degrees higher than normal, based on records for the Raleigh area, said Terry Click, with the National Weather Service in Raleigh.
The average temperature for the month of December this year is 51.6 degrees, with normal temperatures ranging in the mid-40s.
“Our high temperature for the month was 75 degrees on the 28th of December,” Click said.
The record-high temperature for the month was on Dec. 17 when temperatures were 73 degrees. The previous high temperature for Dec. 17 was 72 degrees on the same day in 1924 and 1906, Click said.
“On Dec. 17, we eclipsed those records for a record high in 2021 when we broke those old records,” Click said.
Record maximum low temperatures were also recorded at 59 degrees on Dec. 18 and 61 degrees on Dec. 29, he said.
Temperatures that hovered in the 70s this week in Wayne County are due to a southwest wind moving through all layers of the atmosphere, said Tom Green, a meteorologist with the NWS in Raleigh.
“That southwest wind is bringing warm air from the South,” Green said.
La Nina climate conditions, which involve cooler sea surface temperatures across the globe, are also resulting in warmer temperatures and expected to continue through the winter months, Green said.
“La Nina is supposed to persist over the next few months,” Green said.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center predicts North Carolina will have a 40% to 50% chance of having above normal temperatures in January, February and March.
Drought conditions are also of concern, with Wayne County currently listed in a severe drought, which could lead to area water shortage response plans, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor of North Carolina. The U.S. Drought Monitor advises water conservation, the elimination of nonessential water uses and evaluation of water delivery systems.
In North Carolina, 50 counties are experiencing severe drought conditions, including the nearby counties of Wilson, Greene, Lenoir, Duplin, Sampson and Johnston. Thirty-six counties are experiencing moderate drought conditions, and 14 are abnormally dry, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
Temperatures in Wayne County will remain in the 70s through Sunday before dropping into the lower 30s Sunday night, Click said. The high on Friday is predicted at 71 degrees, with a 40% chance of rain Friday night. Saturday temperatures are predicted to reach into the upper 70s, according to the NWS.
Sunday’s weather forecast includes a 90% chance of rain with a high temperature predicted at 73 degrees prior to temperatures dropping to a low of 36 degrees in the evening.
On Monday, the temperature is predicted to reach a high of 47 degrees. Temperatures will drop in the evening to the mid-20s.
Temperatures are predicted to remain in the low 50s Tuesday and the upper 50s on Wednesday.