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Energy & Environment

North Carolina can expect less snow, warmer temps this winter

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David Boraks / WFAE
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North Carolina has a diverse climate for snow. The mountains can get a yearly average of 10 inches according to the National Weather Service, while the southeastern coast may only get a dusting of an inch.

This year, those who keep an eye on the weather say everyone — from the mountains to the coast — can expect less snow than usual.

That’s partly because of La Nina, which will keep the southeastern U.S. warmer and drier this winter. But it’s also part of a decades-long trend, said UNC Charlotte assistant professor Jack Scheff.

"Our winters are just not as cold as they used to be," he said.

For that, Scheff said we can largely blame greenhouse gases and the burning of fossil fuels.

"Our winters are on average about two degree Fahrenheit warmer than they were say a hundred years ago," he said. "It doesn't sound like that much, but two degrees could be the difference between a wet snowstorm at 33 degrees and just a cold rainstorm at 35 degrees."

Data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show Charlotte hasn’t had more than a foot of yearly snowfall in over 15 years, whereas it used to happen at least twice a decade. The same is true of Raleigh.

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