North Carolina has a humid subtropical climate, with precipitation in all seasons and few temperature extremes. In January temperatures average 4° to 7°C (40° to 45°F) in most areas, except in the mountains, where the range is from 1° to 3°C (34° to 38°F). There cold raw weather lasts much of the winter. In the Coastal Plain and the Piedmont, cold spells are brief. On the highest peaks, January averages are well below freezing and heavy snowfalls occur. July temperatures range from an average of about 20°C (about 68°F) in the mountainous regions to as high as 27°C (80°F) in the Coastal Plain. Hot days are common at lower elevations, and temperatures occasionally rise into the upper 30°s C (lower 100°s F). Summers are cooler in the mountains.
Yearly precipitation averages 1,000 to 1,300 mm (40 to 50 in) over most of the Atlantic Coastal Plain and the Piedmont. The sheltered basins and mountain valleys receive 1,000 mm (40 in). The southern-facing slopes of the mountains in the extreme southwestern part of the state receive about 2,000 mm (80 in) due to the moist prevailing winds blowing northward from the Gulf of Mexico. Summer is the rainiest season, and autumn is generally the driest, except that near the coast, autumn can be very rainy because of tropical storms and hurricanes.
Snowfall ranges from 25 to 250 mm (1 to 10 in) a year over the Atlantic Coastal Plain and the Piedmont. In the mountains annual snowfall averages as much as 1,300 mm (50 in) in places, and the snow cover can last for several weeks at a time. At the low elevations the growing, or frost-free, season is from seven to nine months long. The mountain region in the northwestern part of the state has a growing season of as short as five months. © "United States" © Emmanuel Buchot and Encarta
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