A Winter Weather Climatology for the Southeastern United States
Christopher Fuhrmann and Charles E. Konrad, II
Department of Geography
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Winter weather events occur with the greatest frequency on the Appalachian Plateau in southern West Virginia (28 events per year at Beckley, WV). Frequencies decrease markedly to the south-southwest (10-14 events per year across the Piedmont of Virginia, and 6-12 events per year across the Piedmont of North Carolina). Less than four events per year are found along the coastal regions of North Carolina and the southern two-thirds of South Carolina.
Snow dominant events display a similarly marked pattern, ranging from 17 events per year in southern West Virginia, to less than one event per year in southeastern North Carolina and most of South Carolina and Georgia.
Sleet dominant events are quite rare across the Southeast, ranging from no occurrences during the 55-year period in Roanoke, VA, Bristol, TN, Augusta, GA, and Norfolk, VA, to just one occurrence every three years at Raleigh, NC. Given the rarity of sleet dominant events, a 55-year period is probably not a sufficiently long period for capturing the geographic variability in its occurrence.
Freezing rain dominant events occur with the greatest frequency in the western Piedmont from Virginia southwestward to northern Georgia, ranging from one event per year at Lynchburg, VA to one event every two years at Greenville-Spartanburg, SC. Freezing rain dominant events are rare in the Tennessee Valley and the Tidewater region of Virginia, where cold wedges are uncommon and maritime influences dominate, respectively.
Cold rain events show a pattern similar to snow dominant events, with the most frequent occurrences along the Appalachian Plateau of West Virginia. The regional variability in these events, however, is not nearly as great, ranging from seven events per year at Beckley, WV to less than two events per year along the Carolina coast.