Signs Winter Is Lingering In North Carolina

We’re halfway through winter in terms of the calendar, but signs point to a prolonged winter ahead in North Carolina. Just the news you want to hear after several unseasonably cold days in January, right?

Aside from the weather, North Carolina online sports betting looks to spend its last Super Bowl on the sidelines. Sitting hopefully on the sidelines is an accurate metaphor for winter: an ominous forecast with spring’s hope lying beyond.

But it’s only February, so there’s still plenty of winter ahead of us.

Need more proof? We’ve listed several signs that might suggest we’re in for a long winter.

Sign 1: Listen to your body

Winter represents a time when nature slows down. Of course, that’s not always easy to do in our everyday lives.

Nonetheless, a long winter can feel even longer if you ignore your body’s signs to slow down. Environmental conditions, excessive exertion, and holiday stress can all lead to immune responses, including winter allergies and colds.

Culprits like pet dander, damp wood, and mildew can all increase allergy symptoms in the winter. Even cold, damp weather can trigger allergies and make you want to stay in bed all day.

Short and gloomy days can also contribute to the feeling of a long winter. The “winter blues,” or seasonal affective disorder (SAD), can affect anybody, no matter how happy or healthy they might feel at other times.

Between 5% and 15% of Americans experience some degree of SAD-related symptoms every year. Depending on the severity, lifestyle changes or consulting with a mental health professional can help.

Sometimes, you should slow down and let winter do its thing. The more you fight it, the longer it may fight you back.

Sign 2: It’s an El Niño year

Did you know that 2024 is an El Niño year? This term comes from Pacific Ocean climate patterns but affects the entire North American continent, including each of North Carolina’s three climate zones.

The last El Niño cycle lasted from 2018 to 2019, followed by a year of neutral conditions and a three-year La Niña. La Niña’s effects on the Atlantic Coast increased tropical cyclone activity in the summer, including Hurricane Ian in 2022. However, its winters were mainly dry and warm.

What should you expect for the upcoming El Niño season in North Carolina?

For starters, look for wetter conditions throughout the state. In January, colder temperatures and precipitation brought several inches of snow to Western NC mountain towns above 3,500 feet.

The lower-elevation Piedmont and coastal regions have also experienced below-average temperatures this winter. These lower temps unsurprisingly make winter feel extra long.

Ready for some good news? The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) believes February and March will be warmer than usual without much more snowfall. The worst might be behind us.

Sign 3: Football’s over

The Super Bowl is in the rearview, marking the end of the NFL season.

In many cold-weather places, football helps carry towns through the brutal winter. It gives people something to look forward to, come together for, and rally around.

If you’re a Carolina Panthers fan, you’ve probably felt more disappointment than excitement all fall and winter. Even worse, the team’s 2-15 record doesn’t give it the first-overall pick to look forward to in the spring.

Unfortunately, the team traded it away to the Chicago Bears last year to draft Bryce Young first overall a year ago. As a result of that trade, the Panthers don’t have a first-round pick, creating an uphill battle for a second-year quarterback and new head coach, Dave Canales.

As if that’s not enough dreary, wintry news about the subject, the Panthers’ home city of Charlotte was ranked the second-worst pro sports city in the US in 2023. Only San Antonio was worse.

A little saving grace for the Tar Heel State: Raleigh ranked eighth for supporting the Carolina Hurricanes.

Sign 4: A prolonged North Carolina sports betting launch

North Carolina bettors can rejoice about the upcoming March 11 launch of mobile sports betting. The wait has been real, though:

  • July 2019: Retail sports betting became legal in North Carolina.
  • March 2021: Retail sports betting launched.
  • June 2023: Online sports betting became legal in North Carolina.
  • March 2024: Online sports betting launches.

Technically, the launch comes ten days before the winter ends, at least according to the calendar. That’s good news for North Carolina gambling, right?

While the launch comes after the Super Bowl, it will come in time for March Madness. In fact, the March 11 launch date means you’ll be able to wager on the 2024 ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament, which occurs March 12-16.

If you want to participate, sign up for your favorite NC sportsbooks beforehand. Pre-launch offers begin March 1, meaning you have a 10-day window to register and fund your accounts before placing wagers.

Eight North Carolina sportsbook apps expect to launch on March 11, along with their licensed sports betting partners:

Bonus sign: Trust the farmer

The seasons come and go, even if some years make one feel too long or too short. And as we continue through winter, a beautiful North Carolina spring is weeks away.

Of course, the long days of summer and the colorful fall will follow, and winter will knock on the door again. (Isn’t it nice living where we have four seasons?)

Looking ahead to future winters, the Farmer’s Almanac offers 20 signs that might project a hard season to come. A handful of those signs include:

  • Extra thick onion skins and corn husks.
  • Regular heavy fog in August.
  • An abundance of acorns on the ground.
  • An increased presence of spiders, rodents, or crickets inside/around the house.

If you don’t believe in these, find a farmer and ask them. One year, when I lived in Nashville, a local farmer told me he had a bumper crop of sweet potatoes in late autumn and expected a rough winter. It was the coldest winter in two decades.

Either way, you can check out the full list here.

About the Author

Hill Kerby

Hill Kerby is a proponent of safe, legal betting in North Carolina, and is grateful to be able to contribute to growing the industry. He has a background in poker, sports, and psychology, all of which he incorporates into his writing.