NC Weather-Four Seasons To Enjoy
North Carolina weather has a season for everything-fall, winter, spring and summer. That’s about 3 months of each season to enjoy. From the take a deep breath cooler days of fall and the annual fall foliage season; to cold winter day with some sleet and snow; to the mild spring days with blooming flowers and trees (and pollen!); to the long hot humid summer days with thunderstorms the state has it all. NC weather has a season for everything and everyone.
Weather Varies by Regions
The climate of North Carolina depends on the region of the state. The climate on the coast is influenced by the Atlantic Ocean. The ocean breeze makes the coast cooler in summer.The coastal areas normal summer temperatures are 80-90 degrees. Normal coastal winter temperatures are 50-60 degrees. Most people who live year round on the North Carolina coast-especially on the islands that make up the Outer Banks and Crystal Coast do not have winter clothes-the residence can wear shorts and tee shirts with light jackets almost all winter!
Compared to the coastal area the Piedmont region has hotter summers where temperatures are normally 90-100 degrees. And the Piedmont winters are colder than the beaches. Normal winter season temperatures average in the 40s during the day and during the night can be 20-30 degrees cooler.
The coolest region of the state is the North Carolina mountain region in the west. Winter daytime temperatures average in the low 40s and upper 30s for a high and often fall into the teens or lower during winter nights. In summer at the mountains of North Carolina temperatures rarely rise above 80 degrees with a low humidity! The mountains or the coast is the place to be in the hot summertime in North Carolina!
Snow and Winter in NC
The average annual snowfall is 3–5” in the Charlotte area to the south and to 6–8 inches in the Raleigh–Durham area. Snowfall in the mountains of North Carolina is usually 14–30” per year, but it is often greater in the higher elevations in the Boone area and in The Great Smoky Mountains.
North Carolina Hurricanes and Other Severe Weather
NC weather can be severe: hurricanes can occur quite regularly in North Carolina due to the shape of the state. The Outer Banks protrudes out into the Atlantic Ocean and therefore is in the path of hurricanes that travel up the eastern coast of the United States. The Wilmington area and the Crystal Coast face south and can take a direct hit from a hurricane or tropical storm moving up the east coast over the warm waters of the Gulf Stream. On average a hurricane hits the state once a decade although lately the state has experienced several destructive hurricanes such as Hurricane Arthur in 2014, Hurricane Irene in 2011, Hurricane Earl in 2010, Hurricane Isabel in 2003, Hurricane Fran in 1996, and Hurricane Floyd in 1999.
Another type of NC weather is a coastal storms called a “nor’easter” that can cause coastal erosion and highway overwash and road destruction. Highway 12 along the Outer Banks can quite often be damaged by a good “nor’easter” storm. Fewer than 20 tornadoes per year occur across the state. Many tornadoes are produced by the hurricanes or tropical storms along the coast.
A NC weather feature known as “cold air damming” occurs in the western part of the state due to the higher elevations of the mountains. The mountain range acts as a block to most approaching weather fronts coming from the west. Many storms or fronts break up over the high elevations of the Great Smoky Mountains and the Blue Ridge Mountains. This can lessen weather events for North Carolina. But the hurricanes and storms from the east have a huge effect on the state.
NC weather is unique. From cold and snow, to hot and humid; thunderstorms to tornadoes; hurricanes to nor’easters; North Carolina weather is just a part of the state’s history and culture. The state has four distinct seasons to enjoy. Each season has its advantages and each season provides a wide range of outdoor activities to enjoy all year-long!