North Carolina Mountains Climate
The Mountains are the smallest of the three regions in North Carolina, accounting for only about a fifth of the total state.
The Mountains enjoy the greatest variance of altitude out of all the regions, ranging from valleys of about 1,500 feet to vistas of over 6,000 feet, with the highest point in the Mountains region being mt. Mitchell, at 6,684. About 125 peaks rise above 5,000 feet, and over 40 are above 6,000 feet.
The mountains have a great variety of terrain and weather as a result of the differences in altitude, in addition to the effects caused by the mountains framing the region.
Due to its altitude, the Mountains are the coolest part of the state. When temperatures are in the nineties in the rest of the state, expect it to be from five to ten degrees cooler in the mountains.
The same can be said in the winter when most of the state is being rained on, most of the Mountains region is seeing icy conditions or snow.
Average temperatures range from upper twenties to upper thirties, depending upon altitude and latitude, with the northern latitudes and upper altitudes typically receiving colder temperatures.
Another important factor is a town's location in relation to the mountain peaks.
The southwestern region of North Carolina receives the most precipitation of any spot in the Eastern United States, with about eighty to ninety inches of precipitation per year. Parts of Jackson and Transylvania Counties lie in this area of heavy precipitation.
However, this amount of precipitation does not hold true for all Western North Carolina. A difference of thirty miles can make a difference of thirty inches of rain.
Brevard gets about 67 inches per year whereas Asheville, only about thirty miles away gets only about 38 inches per year.
Locations with the most amounts of precipitation include Highlands, which receives about 84 inches per year, and Lake Toxaway, which receives about 92 inches per year.
Overall, the average amount of precipitation in the Mountains is from 40 to 55 inches per year, and the average amount of snowfall is around twenty inches.
With its varied altitudes and topography of mountains and valleys, laced with rivers and spotted with clear lakes, the Mountain region is one of the most beautiful of North Carolina's areas.
Lacking the large cities of the Piedmont Plateau, or the arable land and waterfront access of the Coastal Plain, the Mountains have turned towards ecotourism, cultural attractions and numerous small towns with charm, to bring people to them.
For years now, people have been moving to the mountains of North Carolina to experience the raw beauty of the mountains, four distinct seasons, the possibility of a white Christmas, and summers cooled by mountain breezes.
The Mountains have harvested what the land has offered them, apple orchards thrive in the thermal belt regions, and a growing Christmas Tree industry is booming as well.
The city of Asheville is comparable to any other in the state in terms of culture and thrills. Boone and Hendersonville are another couple of prominent cities in Western North Carolina Mountains.
North Carolina Mountain Cities/Towns
- Banner Elk
- Blowing Rock
- Bryson City
- Fontana Village
- Little Switzerland
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