February hot spell highlights the Triangle's warm start to 2023
You don't need to check historical records to know the Triangle is off to a hot start to the year.
- It's February but plants are blooming and jackets are being shed.
Driving the news: Thermometers at RDU are expected to cross the 80° mark for just the 14th time since 1945 Thursday — and could come close to the all-time record for February of 84°, according to the N.C. State Climate Office.
- Temperatures have been 9° above the historical average so far this year.
- But "what we're seeing Thursday and Friday is more like 25 degrees above normal, so it really is out of the ordinary," Corey Davis, an assistant state climatologist for the State Climate Office, told Axios.
Zoom out: Davis said the warm temperatures are being driven by warm air from South Florida moving northward, while the jetstream has also shifted north.
What we're watching: The warm weather is causing spring-like blooms. But that could make those plants vulnerable to damage when cold nights return, Davis said.
- The warm weather and high wind gusts have also increased risks for fire across the state.
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