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WEATHER 101: Cloudy days vs. sunny days in 2018 - which won?

Cloudy days outnumbered sunny days, but not by a large margin.

ROANOKE, Va. – We love when you ask questions about the weather. It gives us an opportunity to step outside the norm, and go more in depth with things. 

Nicki Jenkins asked me on Facebook, "How many sunny days have we had this year? I mean really sunny days without actual clouds." 

So we broke things down into five categories: sunny, mostly sunny, partly cloudy, mostly cloudy and overcast. 

It turns out that only 14% of the year was completely clear/sunny (0/10 to 1/10 of the sky covered). 19% of our year was overcast, though (9/10 to 10/10 of the sky covered). 

Let's consolidate things, now. We can group sunny and mostly sunny together, leave partly cloudy alone and then group mostly cloudy and overcast. 

Suddenly, things look more evenly distributed. However, roughly 70% of the year has seen the sky half covered or more. 

This is thanks to a fairly persistent pattern that developed in May and lasted through most of the summer. The Bermuda High set up in a favorable position to keep forcing moisture into the area. 

That moisture resulted in more cloud cover, more humidity and heavier rain. We even saw this pattern show up in the final week of December, which is fairly odd.

Other important notes are, of course, that many of us broke rain records for the year. Humidity was also at an all-time high in the Star City. We saw 75 days in which dew points got to 70° or above. That's a lot of moisture. Because of the cloud cover and high moisture content, we also had 111 nights when temperatures only dropped to 65 or warmer. That's 30% of nights this year!

If you ever have anything (pictures, questions, etc.) that you would like to see featured on 'Weather 101,' send me a message on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. You can also send an email to cmichaels@wsls.com


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