The climate of Mississippi is characterized by long, hot, and humid summers and generally mild winters. The higher lands in the northeast are usually cooler than other areas of the state.
Average January temperatures range from about 6°C (about 42°F) in northeastern Mississippi to about 12°C (about 54°F) along the Gulf Coast. No part of the state is entirely free from freezing temperatures, but prolonged periods of extreme cold rarely occur. Temperatures more than 15°C (30°F) below freezing have on occasion been recorded throughout the north and in much of the southwest. The lowest official temperature ever measured is -28°C (-19°F), recorded in 1966.
July average temperatures range from about 26°C (about 78°F) in the northeast to about 24°C (about 75°F) in the northwest. Days are generally hot and oppressive, with daytime highs often in the mid 30s° C (high 90s° F). The highest official temperature is 46°C (115°F), recorded in 1930. Nighttime temperatures afford little relief from the heat and rarely fall below 21°C (70°F). However, sea breezes provide more tolerable conditions along the coast.
Annual precipitation, or rainfall and snowfall, ranges from less than 1,200 mm (48 in) in a few northwestern areas to more than 1,500 mm (60 in) in most of the south.
Most precipitation is in the form of rain. Snow falls occasionally but rarely remains on the ground for more than a few days. Ice storms, though relatively rare, do occur in the state and are extremely damaging to the economy. In February 1994 a layer of ice, up to 15 cm (6 in) deep in some areas, coated north and western parts of the state, destroying millions of dollars worth of trees and leaving some people without electricity and water for several weeks. The state is also affected by thunderstorms, lightning, hail, fog, and droughts. In the late summer and the fall, the state is occasionally struck by hurricanes moving north from the Gulf of Mexico. Mississippi is also struck by tornadoes, especially during the period from February to May. Encarta © "United States" © Emmanuel Buchot and Encarta
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