Our climate is trending warmer and wetter, according to NOAA update

The organization released new climate “normal” numbers for our region and the rest of the country Tuesday

ROANOKE, Va. – Whenever you watch Your Local Weather Authority on WSLS 10 News, you’re likely to hear our meteorologists talk about what the average or “normal” temperature or precipitation is for a given day or month.

Our perception of normal is a little different now, thanks to a recalculation that was released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) Tuesday. These updates come every 10 years and reflect the changes we see in our climate.

In a conversation with NBC 12 in Richmond, Jeremy Hoffman, the Chief Scientist at the Science Museum of Virginia, says the new numbers help all kinds of people keep the economy humming: “Agricultural decision-making, electricity load-bearing, heating requirements for building and construction scheduling.”

This information also helps us form a perception of what the weather “should” be on a given day.

For example, the previous calculation (released in 2010) pinpointed the average or “normal” high temperature in Roanoke to be 73 degrees tomorrow, May 5. The normal low was 50 degrees. Now, the normal high and low for tomorrow are up two degrees, 75 and 52 respectively.

If you compare the new normals to the 20th-century average, the change is even starker. Look at how much we’re warming just in the last 30 years.

Warming in Roanoke, compared to the 20th century average (via Climate Central) (Copyright 2021 by WSLS 10 - All rights reserved.)

In addition to warmer temperatures, we’re also seeing more rain in Southwest and Central Virginia. NOAA reports a 10% increase in average precipitation in our area, compared to the previous calculation from 2010.


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