Special Weather Statement

WeatherMatrix (Jesse Ferrell)

Extreme cold in North Carolina, Virginia

By Jesse Ferrell
1/11/2018, 2:49:19 PM

The eastern half of the nation has experienced two weeks of extreme temperature departures. As of Jan. 8, 6,144 record lows have been set across the nation in the last month, most of them in the last week. During the past seven days of January, over 2,205 minimum temperature records were broken, six times as many lows as highs, according to NCDC. This image shows a week's worth of stations that got close to, tied, or broke records during the last week:

Stations Breaking Tying or Getting Close to Records 1/1-1/8

Southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina, including the Outer Banks and Hampton Roads area, have suffered through days of extreme cold, something that is extremely unusual there. Sunday's weather in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, matched the normal weather in Bismarck, North Dakota, according to the SERCC. The past week at Cape Hatteras has echoed the normal climate for Juneau, Alaska! The past two weeks, one week, two days and one day area all ranked #1 for both stations.

Comparison of Cape Hatteras to Juneau, Alaska Temps

Weather stations at and between Wakefield, Virginia, and Elizabeth City, North Carolina, began a downward trend just before Christmas and hit record levels this week.

Temp Graphs for Wakefield, VA & Elizabeth City, NC

Most weather stations were in the single digits across the state, with below-zero readings in the Northeast's coastal plain and most of Virginia. In particular, a couple of locations stood out: Ahoskie, North Carolina, which hit -8 F and Wakefield, Virginia, which hit -12, their third day of negative temperatures (records are not maintained for these two stations).

Map of Minimum Temperatures 1/1-1/7

Graph of Two Weather Stations

Snow that fell on the Outer Banks of North Carolina last Thursday is still there on Tuesday, as temperatures finally make it above the freezing mark. Here's a sequence of Swan Circle webcam (Route 158) for the last week:

Swan Quarter Outer Banks Webcam 1/3-1/9

As of this morning, the snow is even still on the roads themselves on the Outer Banks, thanks to the extreme weather, little traffic, and lack of snow mitigation in the area (no plows, no salt). This is remarkable for the area, which sees snow every couple of winters, but it usually vanishes the next day. The webcam below is from Highway 12 south of Corolla:

Albacore Outer Banks Webcam 1/9

In addition, parts of the bays and sounds around the Outer Banks have frozen over -- something that hasn't happened in years (see Incredible footage of ice shoves crashing into North Carolina's Outer Banks .). This map from NASA MODIS shows the approximate ice coverage outlined in blue. Albemarle and smaller sounds are completely frozen over.

Outer Banks Ice Coverage 1/9

I can't tell for sure if the Alligator River or Pamlico Sound are frozen over -- if so, the ice is very thin. I also can't tell (because of clouds) how far South the ice extends toward the Cape Lookout area. Some additional Outer Banks webcams (showing the icy rivers and bays in the area) are shown below.

Outer Banks Webcams Showing Ice 1/8-1/9

Of course, the ice continues north; Rehoboth Bay has now frozen over, for one. In any case, this cold outbreak is over and temperatures are finally above freezing. Here are some of the effects that the cold weather has had on animals:

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com


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WeatherMatrix (Jesse Ferrell)