Record or near-record low temperatures were experienced in Wilkes County and elsewhere across the state during last week’s “blackberry winter” weather.
Blackberry winter is primarily a Southern term for a brief cold period that occurs when blackberries are blooming. They were just starting to bloom in Wilkes last week.
A low of 30 degrees at the North Wilkesboro Water Treatment Plant early Thursday morning tied the lowest low for April 22 in temperature records at that weather station going back to 1955. Lows of 30 degrees were also recorded April 22 in 1962, 1978 and 1983.
North Wilkesboro’s coldest temperature on Friday again was 30, but the record low on April 23 at that weather station is 29 degrees in 1982 and 1986.
Although these temperatures tied or nearly tied the record lows, records at the North Wilkesboro Water Treatment Plant show low temperatures of 32 degrees or less this time of year here aren’t unusual.
April 21 is the average latest spring date for a temperature of 32 degrees or less at the Wilkesboro Water Treatment Plant.
The latest spring date with a temperature at or below freezing on record at the water plant is 29 degrees on May 18, 1973.
The record for the coldest day in May in North Wilkesboro was set on May 2, 1963, when it dropped to 28 degrees. Among record low temperatures for each day in May, 12 are 32 degrees or less.
In recent years, there have been far more new record daily highs than record lows in North Carolina.
William Schmitz, service climatologist/meteorologist at the Southeast Regional Climate Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, provided this weather data.