Does It Snow In North Carolina?

Snow on the mountains of North Carolina.
Snow on the mountains of North Carolina.

North Carolina is a US state located in the southwestern region of the country. It is bordered by several other states, including South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, and Tennessee, and also borders the Atlantic Ocean. North Carolina ranks as the US's 9th most populous and 28th largest state in terms of area. The state is subdivided into 100 counties, and the city of Raleigh serves as capital. North Carolina has a varied landscape that includes coastal plains, western mountains, and the Piedmont plateau region. It also has a range of altitudes, from sea level on the eastern coast to the rolling hills, Blue Ridges, and the Smoky Mountains in the western part of the state.

Climate of North Carolina

Given the state's varied topography, the climate of North Carolina also varies. For example, the climate in the eastern part of the state, along the Atlantic coast, differs from that experienced in the Appalachian Mountains, located in western North Carolina. The mountains block low temperatures and storms from the Midwest from reaching the Piedmont region. Most of North Carolina is characterized by a humid subtropical climate, except regions with higher elevations, which experience a subtropical highland climate. It snows in North Carolina and the mountainous region in the west receives more snow than the coastline in the east.

Snow in North Carolina

Snow is a common occurrence in North Carolina, with an annual average of 5 inches. However, the mountain region and the state capital receive significantly more snow that the coastal region. The coastal region receives less than 2 inches of snow, while the city of Raleigh receives approximately 7.5 inches annually. In the Piedmont-Triad region, which is located further west, the average snowfall is 9 inches, and the Charlotte area receives an average of 6.5 inches annually. The mountains help prevent snowstorms from reaching Piedmont, but when snowstorms do make it beyond the mountain, they are usually light and rarely reach the ground. Much of the snow that falls on the eastern part of the mountains comes from extratropical cyclones that originate in Georgia and move off the coast of North and South Carolina.

When Does Snow Fall in North Carolina?

North Carolina receives snow during the winter months. Cities such as Asheville, Charlotte, Greensboro, and Raleigh experience snowfall from November until March, while Cape Hatteras receives snow from December until March. April to October is a generally warm season (summer) with hardly any snowfall. Asheville may also receive some snow in April.

Significant Snowfalls in North Carolina

North Carolina has experienced significant snowfalls in the past. One such snowstorm was the 1993 Storm of the Century, which affected numerous regions between Canada and Central America. The storm brought approximately 36 inches of snow to North Carolina’s Newfound Gap, 4 feet in Mount Mitchell, and some parts of the northwest region received up to 3 feet of snow. Another significant snowfall occurred in January 2000, when Raleigh received over 20 inches of snow, and 18 inches of snow fell in the Wilmington area in December 1989.


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