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Average Weather in Raleigh North Carolina, United States

In Raleigh, the temperature typically varies from 33°F to 89°F over the course of the year, and is rarely below 20°F or above 95°F.

The hot season lasts for 3.6 months, from May 26 to September 15, with an average daily high temperature above 81°F. The hottest day of the year is July 21, with an average high of 89°F and low of 71°F.

The cool season lasts for 3.0 months, from November 30 to February 28, with an average daily high temperature below 59°F. The coldest day of the year is January 29, with an average low of 33°F and high of 52°F.

Average High and Low Temperature

The daily average high (red line) and low (blue line) temperature with percentile bands, with 25th to 75th and 10th to 90th percentile bands. The thin dotted lines are the corresponding average perceived temperatures.

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

12 AM4 AM8 AM12 PM4 PM8 PM12 AMJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecchillychillycoldcoldcoolcoolcomfortablecomfortablewarmwarmhothot
The average hourly temperature, color coded into bands: frigid < 15°F < freezing < 32°F < chilly < 45°F < cold < 55°F < cool < 65°F < comfortable < 75°F < warm < 85°F < hot < 95°F < sweltering. The shaded overlays indicate night and civil twilight.

Sun

The length of the day in Raleigh varies significantly over the course of the year. In 2017, the shortest day is December 21, with 9 hours, 44 minutes of daylight; the longest day is June 21, with 14 hours, 35 minutes of daylight.

Hours of Daylight and Twilight

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.

The earliest sunrise is at 5:57 AM on June 13, and the latest sunrise is 1 hour, 42 minutes later at 7:39 AM on November 4. The earliest sunset is at 5:00 PM on December 6, and the latest sunset is 3 hours, 34 minutes later at 8:34 PM on June 28.

Daylight saving time (DST) is observed in Raleigh during 2017, starting in the spring on March 12, lasting 7.8 months, and ending in the fall on November 5.

Sunrise & Sunset with Twilight and Daylight Saving Time

The solar day over the course of the year 2017. 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.

Clouds

In Raleigh, 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 Raleigh begins around August 1 and lasts for 3.8 months, ending around November 24. On October 12, the clearest day of the year, the sky is clear, mostly clear, or partly cloudy 65% of the time, and overcast or mostly cloudy 35% of the time.

The cloudier part of the year begins around November 24 and lasts for 8.3 months, ending around August 1. On January 4, the cloudiest day of the year, the sky is overcast or mostly cloudy 51% of the time, and clear, mostly clear, or partly cloudy 49% of the time.

Cloud Cover

clearerclearercloudiercloudiercloudiercloudier0%10%20%30%40%50%60%70%80%90%100%JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecJan 451%Jan 451%Oct 1235%Oct 1235%Aug 143%Aug 143%Nov 2443%Nov 2443%overcastovercastmostly cloudymostly cloudymostly clearmostly clearclearclear
The percentage of time spent in each cloud cover band, categorized by the percentage of the sky covered by clouds: clear < 20% < mostly clear < 40% < partly cloudy < 60% < mostly cloudy < 80% < overcast.

Precipitation

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

The wetter season lasts 3.6 months, from May 13 to August 31, with a greater than 33% chance of a given day being a wet day. The chance of a wet day peaks at 46% on July 16.

The drier season lasts 8.4 months, from August 31 to May 13. The smallest chance of a wet day is 20% on October 31.

Among wet days, we distinguish between those that experience rain alone, snow alone, or a mixture of the two. Based on this categorization, the most common form of precipitation throughout the year is rain alone, with a peak probability of 46% on July 16.

Daily Chance of Precipitation

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).

Rainfall

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 in the year. Raleigh experiences some seasonal variation in monthly rainfall.

Rain falls throughout the year in Raleigh. The most rain falls during the 31 days centered around September 4, with an average total accumulation of 4.2 inches.

The least rain falls around November 10, with and average total accumulation of 2.7 inches.

Average Monthly Rainfall

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 liquid-equivalent snowfall.

Snowfall

We report snowfall in liquid-equivalent terms. The actual depth of new snowfall is typically between 5 and 10 times the liquid-equivalent amount, assuming the ground is frozen. Colder, drier snow tends to be on the higher end of that range and warmer, wetter snow on the lower end.

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

The snowy period of the year lasts for 2.9 months, from December 12 to March 10, with a sliding 31-day liquid-equivalent snowfall of at least 0.1 inches. The most snow falls during the 31 days centered around February 2, with an average total liquid-equivalent accumulation of 0.3 inches.

The snowless period of the year lasts for 9.1 months, from March 10 to December 12. The least snow falls around July 23, with an average total liquid-equivalent accumulation of 0.0 inches.

Average Liquid-Equivalent Monthly Snowfall

The average liquid-equivalent 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.

Humidity

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.

Raleigh experiences very significant seasonal variation in the perceived humidity.

The muggier period of the year lasts for 4.4 months, from May 20 to October 2, during which time the comfort level is muggy, oppressive, or miserable at least 22% of the time. The muggiest day of the year is July 25, with muggy conditions 86% of the time.

The least muggy day of the year is February 4, when muggy conditions are essentially unheard of.

Humidity Comfort Levels

muggymuggy0%10%20%30%40%50%60%70%80%90%100%JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecFeb 40%Feb 40%86%Jul 2586%Jul 25May 2022%May 2022%Oct 222%Oct 222%oppressiveoppressivemuggymuggyhumidhumiddrydrymiserablemiserable
The percentage of time spent at various humidity comfort levels, categorized by dew point: dry < 55°F < comfortable < 60°F < humid < 65°F < muggy < 70°F < oppressive < 75°F < miserable.

Wind

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 Raleigh experiences mildly seasonal variation over the course of the year.

The windier part of the year lasts for 6.5 months, from November 4 to May 18, with average wind speeds of more than 3.2 miles per hour. The windiest day of the year is March 8, with an average hourly wind speed of 4.0 miles per hour.

The calmer time of year lasts for 5.5 months, from May 18 to November 4. The calmest day of the year is August 9, with an average hourly wind speed of 2.5 miles per hour.

Average Wind Speed

The average of mean hourly wind speeds (dark gray line), with 25th to 75th and 10th to 90th percentile bands.

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

The wind is most often from the south for 3.2 months, from March 19 to June 24 and for 1.7 months, from July 3 to August 25, with a peak percentage of 35% on July 30. The wind is most often from the east for 2.1 weeks, from August 25 to September 9, with a peak percentage of 31% on September 6. The wind is most often from the north for 6.3 months, from September 9 to March 19, with a peak percentage of 37% on November 9.

Wind Direction

NNSSSSEENN0%20%40%60%80%100%JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecwestwestsouthsoutheasteastnorthnorth
The percentage of hours in which the mean wind direction is from each of the four cardinal wind directions (north, east, south, and west), excluding hours in which the mean wind speed is less than 1 mph. The lightly tinted areas at the boundaries are the percentage of hours spent in the implied intermediate directions (northeast, southeast, southwest, and northwest).

Solar Energy

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 4.3 months, from April 13 to August 21, with an average daily incident shortwave energy per square meter above 5.9 kWh. The brightest day of the year is June 23, with an average of 6.8 kWh.

The darker period of the year lasts for 2.9 months, from November 9 to February 7, with an average daily incident shortwave energy per square meter below 3.3 kWh. The darkest day of the year is December 25, with an average of 2.4 kWh.

Average Daily Incident Shortwave Solar Energy

The average daily shortwave solar energy reaching the ground per square meter (orange line), with 25th to 75th and 10th to 90th percentile bands.

Topography

For the purposes of this report, the geographical coordinates of Raleigh are 35.772 deg latitude, -78.639 deg longitude, and 295 ft elevation.

The topography within 2 miles of Raleigh contains only modest variations in elevation, with a maximum elevation change of 217 feet, and an average elevation above sea level of 292 feet. Within 10 miles also contains only modest variations in elevation (443 feet). Within 50 miles contains very significant variations in elevation (968 feet).

The area within 2 miles of Raleigh is covered by artificial surfaces (100%), within 10 miles by artificial surfaces (57%) and trees (31%), and within 50 miles by trees (51%) and cropland (36%).

Data Sources

This report illustrates the typical weather in Raleigh, 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 5 weather stations near enough to contribute to our estimation of the temperature and dew point in Raleigh.

For each station, the records are corrected for the elevation difference between that station and Raleigh 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 Raleigh is computed as the weighted average of the individual contributions from each station, with weights proportional to the inverse of the distance between Raleigh and a given station.

The stations contributing to this reconstruction are: Raleigh-Durham International Airport (44%, 19 kilometers, northwest), Johnston Regional Airport (18%, 34 kilometers, southeast), Louisburg, Franklin County Airport (15%, 39 kilometers, northeast), Erwin, Harnett County Airport (12%, 45 kilometers, south), and Sanford, Sanford-Lee County Regional Airport (11%, 47 kilometers, southwest).

Other Data

All data relating to the Sun's position (e.g., sunrise and sunset) are computed using astronomical formulas from the book, Astronomical Tables of the Sun, Moon and Planets , 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 aiports and weather stations are provided by AskGeo.com .