December 28, 2015

New record high temps set at
Hatteras for Christmas holiday


High temperature records at Cape Hatteras have been falling left and right during December and were falling day after day during the long Christmas weekend.

And, after a brief cloudy, rainy, and cool spell today, temperatures will soar again on Tuesday, threatening the high of 75, set in1990.  That will set the stage for a warm and wet week with temperatures falling back to cooler and much more seasonal highs and lows by the New Year's weekend.

Over the long Christmas holiday weekend, islanders and visitors were astounded to be running air conditioning, switching Christmas sweaters for T-shirts, getting the shorts back out -- and even pulling the bathing suits out of winter storage.

Yes, there were folks who went swimming on Christmas Day.  They reported the water was "warm enough." -- whatever that means. There were plenty of others who were fishing and who put away their waders to fish in shorts, wading thigh-deep into the surf.  By all reports, the fishing was pretty good.

Through yesterday, the average temperature for December 2015 at the automated weather station at Billy Mitchell Airfield in Frisco was 61.9 degrees -- 12.1 degrees above the normal average temperature for the month.

The temperature has not reached the all-time record high for the month of December, which was 78 degrees in 1991.

However, by my count, there have been seven high temperature records broken so far this month.  And that's even more impressive when you consider that the daily high and low temperatures have been recorded on Hatteras Island for 141 years.  The weather station has moved around during that time, but records date back to 1874.

Here are the record high temperatures reported by the National Weather Service:

  • Saturday, Dec. 12, 73 degrees, breaking the record of 72, set in 1961.
  • Monday, Dec. 14, 75 degrees, breaking the record of 74, set in 1991.
  • Thursday, Dec. 17, 75 degrees, breaking the record of 72, set in 1933.
  • Thursday, Dec. 24, 75 degrees, breaking the record of 72, set in 1990.
  • Friday, Dec. 25, 75 degrees, breaking the record of 73, set on Christmas Day in 1964.
  • Saturday, Dec. 26, 74, tying the record high of 74, set in 1964.
  • Sunday, Dec. 27, 74, breaking the record of 71, set in 1882.

And, though today is in the mid-60s, the Weather Service says it may warm up enough tomorrow to put the Dec. 29 record high of 75 in 1990 in jeopardy.

And although the all-time record high for December has not fallen, the record high minimum temperature was broken on Dec. 24 when the low was 71, enough we are sure to make Santa and his reindeer sweat just a bit.

According to the meteorologists at the Weather Service office in Newport/Morehead City, N.C., today's cool and drizzly weather is the result of a "backdoor" cold front that dropped into the area from the north this morning.

The front is forecast to move back north as a warm front tonight, bringing us a 70 percent chance of rain. On Tuesday, there's only a 30 percent chance of lingering showers and the weather will warm up to the mid-70s.

Another cold front will approach from the west tomorrow but dissipate before it clears the coast, keeping us in an unstable weather pattern for Wednesday -- with a 50 percent chance of rain -- and Thursday -- with a 60 percent chance.  Clouds and showers should keep the temperatures slightly cooler.

A stronger cold front will finally clear the area on Thursday night with a slight cool  down to the upper 50s for New Year's Day.  Next weekend will be sunny, but the high will be 50, more seasonable for early January. Low temperatures over the weekend will drop to about 40.

For updated forecasts, go to the National Weather Service's Newport/Morehead City home page at

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