The National Weather Service said temperatures 20 to 30 degrees below normal covered much of the eastern third of the nation Wednesday morning, making it the region’s most severe early November cold snap in more than a century.
Low temperatures at the North Wilkesboro Water Treatment Plant were 19 degrees the morning of Wednesday, Nov. 13, and 22 degrees the morning of Thursday, Nov. 14. There were reports of colder weather elsewhere in Wilkes.
The record low at the North Wilkesboro Water Treatment Plant is 12 degrees for both Nov. 13 and 14, said William Schmitz, service climatologist/meteorologist for the Southeast Regional Climate Center in Chapel Hill. Both of these records were set in 1976.
Schmitz said 19 degrees Wednesday morning tied the next to the lowest low for that date at the water treatment plant - 19 degrees on Nov. 13, 1977.
The next seven coldest temperatures on Nov. 13 at the water plant were 21 degrees in 1973 and 1963, 22 in 1996, 23 in 1987, 24 in 1981 and 1960 and 25 in 2013.
The next to the lowest low on Nov. 14 at the water plant was 15 degrees in 1986, followed by 20 degrees in 1981, 21 degrees in 1977 and 22 degrees on at least five occasions.
Schmitz said a low of 12 degrees Wednesday morning in Boone set a new record low for Nov. 13, breaking the old record of 15 degrees on Nov. 13, 1984.
The low was also 12 degrees Thursday morning in Boone, which was the coldest on record for that date except for 10 degrees in 1986.
Records at the North Wilkesboro Water Treatment Plant go back to October 1955, while the Boone records that Schmitz referenced only go back to June 1980.
Early ski season
The unusually cold weather for this time of year resulted in an early start for the High Country ski season.
Sugar Mountain Resort near Banner Elk opened for skiing on Nov. 9. According to the resort’s website, the earliest Sugar’s slopes ever opened was Nov. 2 on 2014. Last year, Sugar also opened on Nov. 9.
Appalachian Ski Mountain between Boone and Blowing Rock opened for skiing on Friday. An Appalachian spokesman said that was the resort’s earliest opening date in 25 years.
According to the Beech Mountain Ski Resort website, slopes there are still scheduled to open on Nov. 23.