Warm winters! We are tracking fewer negative nights than before

Happy Monday and welcome to another edition of Beyond The Forecast!

Despite the recent cold mornings, the winter overall has been relatively warm. We know this by tracking how many nights have dipped to or below freezing this season.

Roanoke has had a low of 32 degrees or below on 42 nights this winter. That’s the 11th most freezes to this point in the season.

For perspective, the record number of frostbites in a single season in Star City was 54 in 2019-2020.

Lynchburg, Danville and Blacksburg all had a few more sub-zero nights.

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Climate Central tells us that the average nighttime temperature below freezing in Roanoke has decreased since 1970.

Previously, we spent almost 100 nights at a temperature not lower than 32 degrees. Now we get below freezing about 70 times every winter.

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This change may sound like good news to some of you. If we don’t get down to freezing that often, we don’t need to use the windshield ice scraper as often.

However, there are some downsides to our warmer winters, including earlier blooms and pollen, more bugs, and less snow for winter recreation.

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There is a chance that some of us will wake up to a frosty Tuesday morning, but the general trend this week is for warmer mornings.

In fact, at times we are forecasting temperatures nearly 20 degrees above average. The average minimum temperature in Roanoke this time of year is 29 degrees.

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Following the cold front, we will see the return of cold air over the coming weekend. Meteorologist Chris Michaels tracks whether we’ll warm up by Valentine’s Day our daily forecast article.

You can always get detailed forecast information for your area, whether it’s the Roanoke Valley, the Southside, the Highlands, or anywhere else around Southwest and Central Virginia, anytime at WSLS.com/weather. Know your zone!

In case you missed it, we’ve been posting great weather and science news WSLS.com. Here are some links from last week to check out:

If you prefer to get weather updates via social media, you can follow your local weather authority Facebook and Twitter.

You can also follow me on social media. I’m on Facebook and Twitterstick with it!

– Justin McKee

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