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Climate and Average Weather Year Round in Durham North Carolina, United States

In Durham, the summers are hot and muggy, the winters are short and very cold, and it is wet and partly cloudy year round. Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from 32°F to 89°F and is rarely below 19°F or above 95°F.

Based on the tourism score, the best times of year to visit Durham for warm-weather activities are from early May to mid June and from mid August to mid October.

Climate in Durham

coldcoolwarmhotwarmcoolcoldJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecNowNow65%65%48%48%clearovercastprecipitation: 3.9 inprecipitation: 3.9 in2.8 in2.8 inmuggy: 82%muggy: 82%0%0%drydrytourism score: 6.3tourism score: 6.31.01.0
Durham weather by month. Click on each chart for more information.

The hot season lasts for 3.6 months, from May 27 to September 15, with an average daily high temperature above 81°F. The hottest month of the year in Durham is July, with an average high of 88°F and low of 70°F.

The cool season lasts for 3.0 months, from December 1 to February 28, with an average daily high temperature below 58°F. The coldest month of the year in Durham is January, with an average low of 33°F and high of 51°F.

Average High and Low Temperature in Durham

Average High and Low Temperature in DurhamhotcoolcoolJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec0°F0°F10°F10°F20°F20°F30°F30°F40°F40°F50°F50°F60°F60°F70°F70°F80°F80°F90°F90°F100°F100°FJan 2951°FJan 2951°FJul 2189°FJul 2189°F32°F32°F70°F70°FMay 2781°FMay 2781°FSep 1581°FSep 1581°FDec 158°FDec 158°F61°F61°F63°F63°F39°F39°F37°F37°FNowNow
The daily average high (red line) and low (blue line) temperature, with 25th to 75th and 10th to 90th percentile bands. The thin dotted lines are the corresponding average perceived temperatures.
AverageJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
High 51°F54°F63°F72°F79°F85°F88°F87°F81°F71°F62°F54°F
Temp. 40°F43°F51°F60°F68°F75°F79°F77°F71°F60°F51°F44°F
Low 33°F35°F42°F50°F58°F66°F70°F69°F62°F51°F42°F36°F

The figure below shows you a compact characterization of the entire year of hourly average temperatures. The horizontal axis is the day of the year, the vertical axis is the hour of the day, and the color is the average temperature for that hour and day.

Average Hourly Temperature in Durham

Average Hourly Temperature in DurhamJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec12 AM12 AM2 AM2 AM4 AM4 AM6 AM6 AM8 AM8 AM10 AM10 AM12 PM12 PM2 PM2 PM4 PM4 PM6 PM6 PM8 PM8 PM10 PM10 PM12 AM12 AMNowNowvery coldvery coldvery coldcoldcoldcoolcoolcomfortablewarmhotvery cold
frigid 15°F freezing 32°F very cold 45°F cold 55°F cool 65°F comfortable 75°F warm 85°F hot 95°F sweltering
The average hourly temperature, color coded into bands. The shaded overlays indicate night and civil twilight.

Podgorica, Montenegro (4,968 miles away) and Luoqiao, China (7,975 miles) are the far-away foreign places with temperatures most similar to Durham (view comparison).

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Marker
© Esri, et al.

Compare Durham to another city:

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In Durham, the average percentage of the sky covered by clouds experiences mild seasonal variation over the course of the year.

The clearer part of the year in Durham begins around July 28 and lasts for 3.9 months, ending around November 24.

The clearest month of the year in Durham is October, during which on average the sky is clear, mostly clear, or partly cloudy 64% of the time.

The cloudier part of the year begins around November 24 and lasts for 8.1 months, ending around July 28.

The cloudiest month of the year in Durham is January, during which on average the sky is overcast or mostly cloudy 50% of the time.

Cloud Cover Categories in Durham

Cloud Cover Categories in DurhamclearercloudiercloudierJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec0%100%10%90%20%80%30%70%40%60%50%50%60%40%70%30%80%20%90%10%100%0%Oct 1265%Oct 1265%Dec 2748%Dec 2748%Jul 2857%Jul 2857%NowNowclearmostly clearpartly cloudymostly cloudyovercast
0% clear 20% mostly clear 40% partly cloudy 60% mostly cloudy 80% overcast 100%
The percentage of time spent in each cloud cover band, categorized by the percentage of the sky covered by clouds.
FractionJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Cloudier 50%50%47%44%46%45%44%40%38%36%42%50%
Clearer 50%50%53%56%54%55%56%60%62%64%58%50%

A wet day is one with at least 0.04 inches of liquid or liquid-equivalent precipitation. The chance of wet days in Durham varies throughout the year.

The wetter season lasts 3.8 months, from May 8 to September 1, with a greater than 32% chance of a given day being a wet day. The month with the most wet days in Durham is July, with an average of 13.0 days with at least 0.04 inches of precipitation.

The drier season lasts 8.2 months, from September 1 to May 8. The month with the fewest wet days in Durham is November, with an average of 6.4 days with at least 0.04 inches of precipitation.

Among wet days, we distinguish between those that experience rain alone, snow alone, or a mixture of the two. The month with the most days of rain alone in Durham is July, with an average of 13.0 days. Based on this categorization, the most common form of precipitation throughout the year is rain alone, with a peak probability of 44% on July 17.

Daily Chance of Precipitation in Durham

Daily Chance of Precipitation in DurhamwetdrydryJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec0%0%10%10%20%20%30%30%40%40%50%50%60%60%70%70%80%80%90%90%100%100%Jul 1744%Jul 1744%Oct 3120%Oct 3120%Jan 125%Jan 125%May 832%May 832%Sep 132%Sep 132%NowNowrainmixed
The percentage of days in which various types of precipitation are observed, excluding trace quantities: rain alone, snow alone, and mixed (both rain and snow fell in the same day).
Days ofJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Rain 6.4d6.0d8.1d8.4d10.5d11.5d13.0d11.6d8.5d6.9d6.3d6.8d
Mixed 0.5d0.3d0.1d0.0d0.0d0.0d0.0d0.0d0.0d0.0d0.0d0.3d
Snow 1.0d1.0d0.3d0.0d0.0d0.0d0.0d0.0d0.0d0.0d0.1d0.5d
Any 7.9d7.3d8.5d8.5d10.5d11.5d13.0d11.6d8.5d6.9d6.4d7.6d

To show variation within the months and not just the monthly totals, we show the rainfall accumulated over a sliding 31-day period centered around each day of the year. Durham experiences some seasonal variation in monthly rainfall.

Rain falls throughout the year in Durham. The month with the most rain in Durham is August, with an average rainfall of 3.8 inches.

The month with the least rain in Durham is January, with an average rainfall of 2.7 inches.

Average Monthly Rainfall in Durham

The average rainfall (solid line) accumulated over the course of a sliding 31-day period centered on the day in question, with 25th to 75th and 10th to 90th percentile bands. The thin dotted line is the corresponding average snowfall.
JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Rainfall 2.7″2.7″3.4″3.1″3.2″3.5″3.7″3.8″3.8″3.1″2.8″2.8″

Snowfall

As with rainfall, we consider the snowfall accumulated over a sliding 31-day period centered around each day of the year. Durham experiences some seasonal variation in monthly snowfall.

The snowy period of the year lasts for 3.1 months, from December 9 to March 14, with a sliding 31-day snowfall of at least 1.0 inches. The month with the most snow in Durham is February, with an average snowfall of 3.5 inches.

The snowless period of the year lasts for 8.9 months, from March 14 to December 9. The least snow falls around July 23, with an average total accumulation of 0.0 inches.

Average Monthly Snowfall in Durham

Average Monthly Snowfall in DurhamsnowJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec0 in0 in2 in2 in4 in4 in6 in6 in8 in8 in10 in10 in12 in12 inFeb 63.6 inFeb 63.6 inJul 230.0 inJul 230.0 inDec 91.0 inDec 91.0 inMar 141.0 inMar 141.0 in
The average snowfall (solid line) accumulated over the course of a sliding 31-day period centered on the day in question, with 25th to 75th and 10th to 90th percentile bands. The thin dotted line is the corresponding average rainfall.
JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Snowfall 2.9″3.5″0.8″0.0″0.0″0.0″0.0″0.0″0.0″0.0″0.2″1.3″

The length of the day in Durham varies significantly over the course of the year. In 2022, the shortest day is December 21, with 9 hours, 43 minutes of daylight; the longest day is June 21, with 14 hours, 36 minutes of daylight.

Hours of Daylight and Twilight in Durham

The number of hours during which the Sun is visible (black line). From bottom (most yellow) to top (most gray), the color bands indicate: full daylight, twilight (civil, nautical, and astronomical), and full night.
Hours ofJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Daylight 10.0h10.9h12.0h13.2h14.1h14.6h14.3h13.4h12.4h11.2h10.2h9.8h

The earliest sunrise is at 5:58 AM on June 12, and the latest sunrise is 1 hour, 44 minutes later at 7:42 AM on November 5. The earliest sunset is at 5:01 PM on December 5, and the latest sunset is 3 hours, 35 minutes later at 8:36 PM on June 28.

Daylight saving time (DST) is observed in Durham during 2022, starting in the spring on March 13, lasting 7.8 months, and ending in the fall on November 6.

Sunrise & Sunset with Twilight and Daylight Saving Time in Durham

Sunrise & Sunset with Twilight and Daylight Saving Time in DurhamJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec12 AM2 AM4 AM6 AM8 AM10 AM12 PM2 PM4 PM6 PM8 PM10 PM12 AMJun 125:58 AMJun 125:58 AM8:36 PMJun 288:36 PMJun 28Dec 55:01 PMDec 55:01 PM7:42 AMNov 57:42 AMNov 5Mar 13DSTMar 13DSTDSTNov 6DSTNov 6daynightnightnightnightSolarMidnightSolarMidnightSolarNoonSunriseSunsetNowNow
The solar day over the course of the year 2022. From bottom to top, the black lines are the previous solar midnight, sunrise, solar noon, sunset, and the next solar midnight. The day, twilights (civil, nautical, and astronomical), and night are indicated by the color bands from yellow to gray. The transitions to and from daylight saving time are indicated by the 'DST' labels.

The figure below presents a compact representation of key lunar data for 2022. The horizontal axis is the day, the vertical axis is the hour of the day, and the colored areas indicate when the moon is above the horizon. The vertical gray bars (new Moons) and blue bars (full Moons) indicate key Moon phases.

Moon Rise, Set & Phases in Durham

The time in which the moon is above the horizon (light blue area), with new moons (dark gray lines) and full moons (blue lines) indicated. The shaded overlays indicate night and civil twilight.

We base the humidity comfort level on the dew point, as it determines whether perspiration will evaporate from the skin, thereby cooling the body. Lower dew points feel drier and higher dew points feel more humid. Unlike temperature, which typically varies significantly between night and day, dew point tends to change more slowly, so while the temperature may drop at night, a muggy day is typically followed by a muggy night.

Durham experiences extreme seasonal variation in the perceived humidity.

The muggier period of the year lasts for 4.4 months, from May 22 to October 1, during which time the comfort level is muggy, oppressive, or miserable at least 20% of the time. The month with the most muggy days in Durham is July, with 24.2 days that are muggy or worse.

The month with the fewest muggy days in Durham is February, with 0.0 days that are muggy or worse.

Humidity Comfort Levels in Durham

Humidity Comfort Levels in DurhammuggyJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec0%0%10%10%20%20%30%30%40%40%50%50%60%60%70%70%80%80%90%90%100%100%Feb 60%Feb 60%82%Jul 2582%Jul 25May 2220%May 2220%Oct 120%Oct 120%NowNowoppressiveoppressivemuggymuggyhumidhumiddrydrycomfortablecomfortable
dry 55°F comfortable 60°F humid 65°F muggy 70°F oppressive 75°F miserable
The percentage of time spent at various humidity comfort levels, categorized by dew point.
JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Muggy days 0.0d0.0d0.0d0.5d5.3d16.0d24.2d22.0d11.5d2.7d0.4d0.1d

This section discusses the wide-area hourly average wind vector (speed and direction) at 10 meters above the ground. The wind experienced at any given location is highly dependent on local topography and other factors, and instantaneous wind speed and direction vary more widely than hourly averages.

The average hourly wind speed in Durham experiences mild seasonal variation over the course of the year.

The windier part of the year lasts for 6.3 months, from November 5 to May 13, with average wind speeds of more than 5.0 miles per hour. The windiest month of the year in Durham is March, with an average hourly wind speed of 6.2 miles per hour.

The calmer time of year lasts for 5.7 months, from May 13 to November 5. The calmest month of the year in Durham is August, with an average hourly wind speed of 3.9 miles per hour.

Average Wind Speed in Durham

Average Wind Speed in DurhamwindywindyJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec0 mph0 mph1 mph1 mph2 mph2 mph3 mph3 mph4 mph4 mph5 mph5 mph6 mph6 mph7 mph7 mph8 mph8 mph9 mph9 mph10 mph10 mphFeb 276.2 mphFeb 276.2 mphAug 83.8 mphAug 83.8 mphNov 55.0 mphNov 55.0 mphMay 135.0 mphMay 135.0 mphNowNow
The average of mean hourly wind speeds (dark gray line), with 25th to 75th and 10th to 90th percentile bands.
JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Wind Speed (mph) 5.76.16.25.84.94.34.03.94.44.85.25.4

The predominant average hourly wind direction in Durham varies throughout the year.

The wind is most often from the north for 1.8 months, from January 23 to March 18; for 2.9 months, from August 30 to November 27; and for 1.1 weeks, from December 20 to December 28, with a peak percentage of 36% on October 23. The wind is most often from the west for 4.5 months, from March 18 to August 3; for 3.3 weeks, from November 27 to December 20; and for 3.7 weeks, from December 28 to January 23, with a peak percentage of 38% on July 13. The wind is most often from the south for 3.3 weeks, from August 3 to August 26, with a peak percentage of 31% on August 3.

Wind Direction in Durham

Wind Direction in DurhamWNWSNWJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec0%100%20%80%40%60%60%40%80%20%100%0%NowNowwestsouthnortheast
northeastsouthwest
The percentage of hours in which the mean wind direction is from each of the four cardinal wind directions, excluding hours in which the mean wind speed is less than 1.0 mph. The lightly tinted areas at the boundaries are the percentage of hours spent in the implied intermediate directions (northeast, southeast, southwest, and northwest).

To characterize how pleasant the weather is in Durham throughout the year, we compute two travel scores.

The tourism score favors clear, rainless days with perceived temperatures between 65°F and 80°F. Based on this score, the best times of year to visit Durham for general outdoor tourist activities are from early May to mid June and from mid August to mid October, with a peak score in the third week of September.

Tourism Score in Durham

Tourism Score in Durhambest timeJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec002244668810106.36.31.01.05.95.95.15.1NowNowprecipitationprecipitationcloudscloudstemperaturetemperature tourism score
The tourism score (filled area), and its constituents: the temperature score (red line), the cloud cover score (blue line), and the precipitation score (green line).

The beach/pool score favors clear, rainless days with perceived temperatures between 75°F and 90°F. Based on this score, the best time of year to visit Durham for hot-weather activities is from mid June to early September, with a peak score in the second week of August.

Beach/Pool Score in Durham

Beach/Pool Score in Durhambest timeJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec002244668810106.06.00.10.1NowNowprecipitationprecipitationcloudscloudstemperaturetemperature beach/pool score
The beach/pool score (filled area), and its constituents: the temperature score (red line), the cloud cover score (blue line), and the precipitation score (green line).

Methodology

For each hour between 8:00 AM and 9:00 PM of each day in the analysis period (1980 to 2016), independent scores are computed for perceived temperature, cloud cover, and total precipitation. Those scores are combined into a single hourly composite score, which is then aggregated into days, averaged over all the years in the analysis period, and smoothed.

Our cloud cover score is 10 for fully clear skies, falling linearly to 9 for mostly clear skies, and to 1 for fully overcast skies.

Our precipitation score, which is based on the three-hour precipitation centered on the hour in question, is 10 for no precipitation, falling linearly to 9 for trace precipitation, and to 0 for 0.04 inches of precipitation or more.

Our tourism temperature score is 0 for perceived temperatures below 50°F, rising linearly to 9 for 65°F, to 10 for 75°F, falling linearly to 9 for 80°F, and to 1 for 90°F or hotter.

Our beach/pool temperature score is 0 for perceived temperatures below 65°F, rising linearly to 9 for 75°F, to 10 for 82°F, falling linearly to 9 for 90°F, and to 1 for 100°F or hotter.

Definitions of the growing season vary throughout the world, but for the purposes of this report, we define it as the longest continuous period of non-freezing temperatures (≥ 32°F) in the year (the calendar year in the Northern Hemisphere, or from July 1 until June 30 in the Southern Hemisphere).

The growing season in Durham typically lasts for 7.3 months (224 days), from around March 29 to around November 8, rarely starting before March 8 or after April 21, and rarely ending before October 20 or after November 29.

Time Spent in Various Temperature Bands and the Growing Season in Durham

Time Spent in Various Temperature Bands and the Growing Season in Durhamgrowing seasonJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec0%100%10%90%20%80%30%70%40%60%50%50%60%40%70%30%80%20%90%10%100%0%50%Mar 2950%Mar 2950%Nov 850%Nov 890%Apr 2190%Apr 2190%Oct 2090%Oct 2010%Mar 810%Mar 810%Nov 2910%Nov 290%Jan 250%Jan 25Jul 20100%Jul 20100%NowNowvery coldcoldcoolcomfortablewarmhotfreezing
frigid 15°F freezing 32°F very cold 45°F cold 55°F cool 65°F comfortable 75°F warm 85°F hot 95°F sweltering
The percentage of time spent in various temperature bands. The black line is the percentage chance that a given day is within the growing season.

Growing degree days are a measure of yearly heat accumulation used to predict plant and animal development, and defined as the integral of warmth above a base temperature, discarding any excess above a maximum temperature. In this report, we use a base of 50°F and a cap of 86°F.

Based on growing degree days alone, the first spring blooms in Durham should appear around February 17, only rarely appearing before January 30 or after March 8.

Growing Degree Days in Durham

Growing Degree Days in DurhamJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec0°F0°F1,000°F1,000°F2,000°F2,000°F3,000°F3,000°F4,000°F4,000°F5,000°F5,000°FFeb 1787°FFeb 1787°FMay 17900°FMay 17900°FJun 251,800°FJun 251,800°FDec 314,799°FDec 314,799°FNowNow
The average growing degree days accumulated over the course of the year, with 25th to 75th and 10th to 90th percentile bands.

This section discusses the total daily incident shortwave solar energy reaching the surface of the ground over a wide area, taking full account of seasonal variations in the length of the day, the elevation of the Sun above the horizon, and absorption by clouds and other atmospheric constituents. Shortwave radiation includes visible light and ultraviolet radiation.

The average daily incident shortwave solar energy experiences significant seasonal variation over the course of the year.

The brighter period of the year lasts for 4.1 months, from April 16 to August 20, with an average daily incident shortwave energy per square meter above 6.0 kWh. The brightest month of the year in Durham is June, with an average of 6.8 kWh.

The darker period of the year lasts for 3.0 months, from November 9 to February 7, with an average daily incident shortwave energy per square meter below 3.3 kWh. The darkest month of the year in Durham is December, with an average of 2.5 kWh.

Average Daily Incident Shortwave Solar Energy in Durham

Average Daily Incident Shortwave Solar Energy in DurhambrightdarkdarkJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec0 kWh0 kWh1 kWh1 kWh2 kWh2 kWh3 kWh3 kWh4 kWh4 kWh5 kWh5 kWh6 kWh6 kWh7 kWh7 kWh8 kWh8 kWh9 kWh9 kWhJun 236.9 kWhJun 236.9 kWhDec 252.4 kWhDec 252.4 kWhApr 166.0 kWhApr 166.0 kWhAug 206.0 kWhAug 206.0 kWhFeb 73.3 kWhFeb 73.3 kWhNowNow
The average daily shortwave solar energy reaching the ground per square meter (orange line), with 25th to 75th and 10th to 90th percentile bands.
JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Solar Energy (kWh) 2.73.64.85.96.66.86.56.05.24.13.02.5

For the purposes of this report, the geographical coordinates of Durham are 35.994 deg latitude, -78.899 deg longitude, and 400 ft elevation.

The topography within 2 miles of Durham contains only modest variations in elevation, with a maximum elevation change of 141 feet and an average elevation above sea level of 359 feet. Within 10 miles contains only modest variations in elevation (604 feet). Within 50 miles contains significant variations in elevation (958 feet).

The area within 2 miles of Durham is covered by artificial surfaces (94%), within 10 miles by trees (58%) and artificial surfaces (36%), and within 50 miles by trees (61%) and cropland (27%).

This report illustrates the typical weather in Durham, based on a statistical analysis of historical hourly weather reports and model reconstructions from January 1, 1980 to December 31, 2016.

Temperature and Dew Point

There are 4 weather stations near enough to contribute to our estimation of the temperature and dew point in Durham.

For each station, the records are corrected for the elevation difference between that station and Durham according to the International Standard Atmosphere , and by the relative change present in the MERRA-2 satellite-era reanalysis between the two locations.

The estimated value at Durham is computed as the weighted average of the individual contributions from each station, with weights proportional to the inverse of the distance between Durham and a given station.

The stations contributing to this reconstruction are:

To get a sense of how much these sources agree with each other, you can view a comparison of Durham and the stations that contribute to our estimates of its temperature history and climate. Please note that each source's contribution is adjusted for elevation and the relative change present in the MERRA-2 data.

Other Data

All data relating to the Sun's position (e.g., sunrise and sunset) are computed using astronomical formulas from the book, Astronomical Algorithms 2nd Edition , by Jean Meeus.

All other weather data, including cloud cover, precipitation, wind speed and direction, and solar flux, come from NASA's MERRA-2 Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis . This reanalysis combines a variety of wide-area measurements in a state-of-the-art global meteorological model to reconstruct the hourly history of weather throughout the world on a 50-kilometer grid.

Land Use data comes from the Global Land Cover SHARE database , published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Elevation data comes from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) , published by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Names, locations, and time zones of places and some airports come from the GeoNames Geographical Database .

Time zones for airports and weather stations are provided by AskGeo.com .

Maps are © Esri, with data from National Geographic, Esri, DeLorme, NAVTEQ, UNEP-WCMC, USGS, NASA, ESA, METI, NRCAN, GEBCO, NOAA, and iPC.

Disclaimer

The information on this site is provided as is, without any assurances as to its accuracy or suitability for any purpose. Weather data is prone to errors, outages, and other defects. We assume no responsibility for any decisions made on the basis of the content presented on this site.

We draw particular cautious attention to our reliance on the MERRA-2 model-based reconstructions for a number of important data series. While having the tremendous advantages of temporal and spatial completeness, these reconstructions: (1) are based on computer models that may have model-based errors, (2) are coarsely sampled on a 50 km grid and are therefore unable to reconstruct the local variations of many microclimates, and (3) have particular difficulty with the weather in some coastal areas, especially small islands.

We further caution that our travel scores are only as good as the data that underpin them, that weather conditions at any given location and time are unpredictable and variable, and that the definition of the scores reflects a particular set of preferences that may not agree with those of any particular reader.

Please review our full terms contained on our Terms of Service page.