Forest Trail Explorer

US Forest Service and Southern Research Station

Weather and Climate

Precipitation Patterns

Seasonal Precipitation
The seasonal distribution or timing of precipitation is an important characteristic of climate. While average annual precipitation tells how much rainfall an area receives in a normal year, the seasonal distribution tells when it arrives. The timing of precipitation also indicates how often an area experiences drought and flooding. Both drought and flooding are natural occurrences in Western North Carolina, but changes in the frequency of these events have the potential... more »
Seasonal Average Precipitation (March–August) Map

Precipitation Variability

Precipitation is essential to both ecosystem processes and to water supplies for municipalities. Precipitation is any form of water – drizzle, rain, sleet, snow, graupel (soft hail or snow pellets), or hail – that falls from the atmosphere and reaches the ground.
Western North Carolina has some of the most variable average precipitation in the southeastern United States. In fact, the wettest and driest points in Western North Carolina are separated by only 50 miles. Elevation gradients of the... more »

Temperature Variability

Western North Carolina has a relatively mild climate year-round; however, the terrain of the Southern Appalachians creates a range of average temperatures in the region. On any given day, the difference in temperature across the region may be as much as 20° F. The most important influence contributing to the variability of the region’s climate is its altitude.
The climate of the region as a whole is cooler than that of adjoining areas, with daytime temperatures averaging in the 30s to 40s for... more »
Average Annual Minimum Temperature