Normal temperatures, which are calculated by the National Climatic Data Center for locations across the country, are quality-controlled, smoothed 30-yr-average temperatures. They are used in many facets of media, industry, and meteorology, and a given day's normal maximum and minimum temperatures are often used synonymously with what the observed temperature extremes “should be.” However, allowing some leeway to account for natural daily and seasonal variations can more accurately reflect the ranges of temperature that we can expect on a particular day—a “normal range.” Providing such a range, especially to the public, presents a more accurate perspective on what the temperature “usually” is on any particular day of the year. One way of doing this is presented in this study for several locations across North Carolina. The results yield expected higher variances in the cooler months and seem to well represent the varied weather that locations in North Carolina tend to experience. Day-to-day variations in the normal range are larger than expected, but are retained rather than smoothed. The method is simple and applicable to any location with a complete 30-yr record and with a temperature variance time series that follows a bell curve. The normal-range product has many potential applications.
State Climate Office of North Carolina, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina
FISHEL—WRAL-TV5, Raleigh, North Carolina