Massachusetts has a humid continental climate, with long hot summers and cold winters. Cape Cod and the islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, however, usually have cooler summer temperatures because of the moderating effects of the ocean, which also give the region somewhat warmer temperatures in winter. Most of Massachusetts has average summer temperatures from 20° to 22°C (68° to 72°F), although daytime temperatures may sometimes enter the lower 30°s C (lower 90°s F). Average January temperatures vary from about -6°C (about 22°F) in the Berkshires to about 0°C (about 32°F) along the southeastern coast.
TPrecipitation is evenly distributed throughout the year. Most parts of Massachusetts receive from 1,020 to 1,170 mm (40 to 46 in) a year, and severe droughts are uncommon. Heavy snowfalls are common throughout most of the state, especially in the western highlands. However, the snowfall is relatively light on Cape Cod and the offshore islands.
The coastal areas are prone to severe storms. Hurricanes come from the south frequently between June and November. “Northeasters,” coming from the polar regions of the Atlantic Ocean, occur year round but are the most severe in the winter. Snowstorms, blizzards, and ice storms also cause major damage each winter. Every few years a strong tornado will touch down in Massachusetts.
The growing season, or period from the last killing frost in the spring to the first killing frost in fall, is about 160 days in the eastern and central parts of the state. The longest growing season is on the coast, and just north of Boston it is about 200 days.
The soils of Massachusetts are mostly brown inceptisols. They tend to be infertile, although many of them can be made productive by the use of fertilizers. Some river valleys, especially the Connecticut River valley, have rich alluvial soils. Much of Cape Cod has sandy soils that support extensive cranberry cultivation in bogs but are otherwise poor for farming. Most of the soils in the state are generally stony because of glacial deposits. "Massachusetts" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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