Charlotte does have four distinct seasons, though it’s best known for its hot and humid summers. Fall and spring are short and pleasant. Winters are cold—a fact that surprises most visitors.
Average temperatures in July range 71–90° Fahrenheit (22–32° Celsius) but severe heat waves can bring temperatures into the mid-90s (approximately 35° Celsius). In January, the average temperature is 32–51° Fahrenheit (0–11° Celsius).
It does snow in Charlotte, though it’s rare. On January 7, 1988, 12.1 inches of snow fell in the Queen City—the city’s largest recorded snowfall in a 24-hour period. Rainfall is moderate with 43.52 inches (1105.3 mm) per year. March is the month with the most rainfall.
A local current weather report and forecast is available 24 hours a day at www.weather.gov.
The Impact of Hurricane Hugo
The North Carolina coast has been struck with hurricanes numerous times in the past, including Hurricane Ophelia in 1995 and Hurricane Isabel in 2003, but 1989 marked the first time that a hurricane turned inland and hit Charlotte.
Hurricane Hugo slammed into Charlotte on September 22, flattening homes, shattering glass in Uptown office buildings, downing power lines, and tearing trees from their roots. The 100-mph winds caused more than $366 million in damages in Mecklenburg County alone and resulted in 18 deaths in the Carolinas. It has been called one of the greatest natural disasters in American history, with damages totaling $7 billion in the United States.
Several counties in North and South Carolina were declared federal disaster zones. Weeks after the storm, thousands of Charlotte residents were still without power and 56,000 residents in the Carolinas were homeless. Reports indicate that some residents were still rebuilding from the damage of Hurricane Hugo into the year 2000.
The War on Allergies
Research shows that there is a lot of sneezing and sniffling going on in Charlotte. The temperate climate causes high pollen scores, and pollen is a major trigger for allergies. In the 2009 annual Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) study, Charlotte ranked the third worst in the United States for seasonal allergies. In 2008, it was ranked 23rd.
The rankings are based on the prevalence of people with allergies, pollen scores, allergy-medicine use, and the number of board-certified allergists per patient. Greensboro, North Carolina, is also on the list.
© Jodi Helmer from Moon Charlotte, 1st Edition