North Carolina Annual Temperatures and Extremes

City

Avg High Temp

Avg Low Temp 

Avg Annual Temp

Avg # days > 90F Avg # days < 32F  Record High Temp Record Low Temp
Asheville 66.8 44.4 55.6 8 97 100 / 1983 -16 / 1985
Cape Hatteras 69.4 55.3 62.4 5 26 96 / 1992 6 / 1985
Charlotte 71.0 49.9 60.5 43 63 104 / 2012 -5 / 1985
Greensboro 68.9 47.4 58.1 32 83 103 / 1988 -8 / 1985
Raleigh 70.6 48.4 59.5 40 75 105 / 2012 -9 / 1985
Wilmington 73.5  53.8 63.6 40 38 104 / 1952 0 / 1989
  • North Carolina annual average temperature - 59.01 degrees, 13th warmest state in the U.S.
  • Record Hottest year in North Carolina - 1990 / Avg temperature 61.48 degrees
  • Record Coldest year in North Carolina - 1917 / Avg temperature 56.92 degrees
  • North Carolina average Summer temperature (June, July, August) 75.7 F degrees, 12th warmest U.S. summer state
  • North Carolina average Winter temperature (December, January, February) 42.1 F degrees, 40th coldest U.S. winter state

North Carolina's Temperature Records

  • Hottest temperature ever recorded: 110 F, Fayetteville, south-central North Carolina, 8/21/1983
  • Coldest temperature ever recorded: -34 F, Mt. Mitchell, western North Carolina, 1/21/1985
  • Hottest location ranked by highest average annual temperature: Wilmington, southern North Carolina, 63.6 F
  • Coldest location ranked by lowest average annual temperature: Grandfather Mountain, western North Carolina, 46.2 F
  • During the summer of 2010, Greenville and Spartanburg endured its hottest summer ever. The average temperature during
    the three-month period of June-August was 81 degrees Fahrenheit. The previous record of 80.2 degrees was set during the
    same period in 1952. Spartanburg and Greenville counties endured consecutive 58 days with high temperatures of 90
    degrees or higher.

The most important single influence contributing to the variability of North Carolina climate is altitude. In all seasons of the year, the average temperature varies more than 20 degrees Fahrenheit ( F) from the lower coast to the highest elevations. The average annual temperature at Southport on the lower coast is nearly as high as that of interior northern Florida, while the average on the summit of Mount Mitchell is lower than that of Buffalo, New York.

In winter, the greater part of North Carolina is partially protected by the mountain ranges from the frequent outbreaks of cold air which move southeastward across the central states. Such outbreaks often move southward all the way to the Gulf of Mexico without attaining sufficient strength and depth to traverse the heights of the Appalachian Range. When cold waves do break across, they are usually modified by the crossing and the descent on the eastern slopes. The temperature drops to 10 to 12 F about once during an average winter over central North Carolina, ranging some 10 degrees warmer the coast and 10 degrees colder in the mountains. Temperatures as low as 0 F are rare outside the mountains, but these temperatures have occurred throughout the western part of the State. The lowest temperature of record is -34 F recorded January 21, 1985, at Mount Mitchell. Winter temperatures in the eastern sections are modified by the Atlantic Ocean which raises the average winter temperature and decreases the average day-to-night range.

In spring, the storm systems that bring cold weather southward reach North Carolina less often and less forcefully, and temperatures begin to modify. The rise in average temperatures is greater in May than in any other month. Occasional invasions of cool, dry air from the north continue during the summer, but their effect on temperatures is slight and of short duration.

The increase in sunshine which follows usually brings temperatures back up quickly. When the dryness of the air is sufficient to keep cloudiness at a minimum for several days, temperatures may occasionally reach 100 F or higher in the interior at elevations below 1,500 feet. Ordinarily, however, summer cloudiness develops to limit the sun's heating while temperatures are still in the 90 F range. Rarely, an entire summer passes without a high of 100 being recorded in the State. The average daily maximum reading in mid-summer is below 90 F for most localities.

Differences in temperatures over the various parts of the State are no less pronounced in summer than in winter. The warmest days are found in the interior rather than near the coast in summer. The average daily maximum temperature at mid-summer exceeds 92 at Goldsboro and Fayetteville, for example, while on the southernmost part of the coast it is 89 F. The mid-July average afternoon high temperature atop Mount Mitchell is only 68, while over widely populated areas in the Mountain Division the figure is around 85 F. Morning temperatures average about 20 F degrees lower than those in the afternoon except along the immediate coast, where the daily range is only 10 to 15 degrees.

Autumn is the season of most rapidly changing temperature, the daily downward trend being greater than the corresponding rise in spring. The drop-off is greatest during October, and continues at a rapid pace in November, so that average daily temperatures by the end of that month are within about five degrees of the lowest point of the year.

 

North Carolina precipitation averages and extremes, Charlotte climate extremes/averages, precipitation and temperature data for all U.S. states and 
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U.S. climate extremes

Data source: National Climatic Data Center