The Reality of Raleigh Weather


Raleigh, North Carolina has a history of fluctuating weather patterns and unpredictable seasons.

Weather in Raleigh varies from warm and muggy in the summers to cold, short winters. There’s typically rainfall and wetness year-round and natural disasters of all kinds. 

Starting 2022, the temperature in Raleigh was in the low 70’s. On January 3, there were flash flood warnings and snow flurries on the radar.

Why This Weather?

The unpredictable weather patterns have a lot to do with North Carolina’s geographical location. 

North Carolina has a close proximity to the jet stream. Warm air from the equator can come north, and cooler air from the North Pole can move south. Bizarre weather patterns are a common result of the differing temperatures meeting.

North Carolina is located in the polar jet’s annual migration path. Due to the jet stream movement, the shift from thunderstorms and rainfall to sunny warm weather overnight tends to occur. 

Each year, Raleigh’s biggest snowfall ranges from an zero to about 7 inches. Last year, Raleigh received its most amount of snow on February 20. While there were only 2.5 inches of snowfall, Raleigh citizens were still excited to receive snow.

Hanna Christiansen, a junior at Leesville, loves the cold. “What I love about Raleigh is that we get all kinds of weather.” 

Christiansen explained how she did not expect snow this year in Raleigh. “I know Raleigh weather is strange, but I did not expect snow,” said Christiansen. 

Strangely, other weather threats have posed to Raleigh throughout the past 20 years. In 2008, a drought in North Carolina caused a fear for water supply in water. Falls Lake is Raleigh’s main water source and it was eight feet below it’s normal levels.

Raleigh experiences everything from tropical storms and flooding to hail and snow. In the summer of 2020, Sparta, North Carolina experienced an earthquake with a magnitude of 5.1. Raleigh citizens saw effects from the uncommon intraplate earthquake.

The Beginning of 2022

On January 2, 2022, the temperature at sunset was 67 degrees. The temperature stayed consistent throughout the night. Storms picked up at 3:00 AM which brought in cold winds from the north.

At 5 am, the temperature was 57 degrees. While the storms continued the rest of the morning, the temperature dropped 20 degrees. At 10:30 AM, snow flurries began to fall.

“When I was at school and I saw the first snow flurry, I didn’t believe it was real,” said Christiansen.

The Benefits 

One thing that a Raleigh tourist can typically be ensured of is a non-dry climate.

After the drought in 2008, 99.3% of North Carolina has had minimal dryness. Raleigh, in specific, has around 46 inches of rainfall each year and droughts currently aren’t a threat to the NIDIS

While tourism is popular in Raleigh due to it being the capital, the weather is also a considerable factor. 

The jet stream may fluctuate the temperature day-to-day, but all four seasons are unique.

Fortunately, natural disasters are much lower of a risk. Chances of earthquakes or tornadoes are much lower than the national average. 

Even with Raleigh being on the East Coast, chances of devastating storms are low. While Raleigh typically experiences some effects from storms on the coast, few storms travel over Raleigh directly. 

“If I don’t like the weather today, there’s always tomorrow,” said Christiansen. 

Raleigh weather may be unpredictable, but the variety is limitless.


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