Dogwood Tree

Ask a Meteorologist: Question Results

What was the greatest temperature change in 24 hour period in North Carolina?

Based on our historical data from across North Carolina, it appears the record 24-hour temperature change is 63 degrees. This occurred on January 9, 1978, in Blowing Rock (in Watauga County).

During that event, the mountains of North Carolina saw a quick cooldown over a short period of time. Early in the day, temperatures were generally in the 50s with rain falling; however, that rain soon turned to snow and temperatures began to plummet. The Asheville Airport saw a drop of 16 degrees in just one hour!

Comparing the daily high temperature to the low temperature, the Blowing Rock weather station reported a drop from 55 degrees to -8 degrees for a 63 degree change. Other large temperature drops occurred in Cataloochee in Haywood County (from 54 to 0 degrees, a 54 degree change) and Banner Elk in Avery County (from 49 to -4 degrees, a 53 degree change).

There are a few other events of note that produced large temperature changes within a 24-hour period:

* On March 29, 1921, a strong cold front moved along the east coast and brought a late-spring chill to North Carolina. The weather station in Weldon, NC (in Halifax County) reported a drop of 54 degrees, from a high temperature of 83 to a low temperature of 29. Some stations in Virginia had even higher temperature drops, with a station in Fredrick County in the northern part of the state reporting a 67 degree decrease in temperature, which set the record 24-hour change for Virginia.

* On February 1-2, 1981, a strong weather system, likely a warm front, passed through North Carolina, bringing a fast increase in temperatures. Hourly observations show the Raleigh-Durham Airport had a low of 8 degrees on the morning of February 1, and by the same time the next morning, the temperature was up to 63 degrees -- a 24-hour change of 55 degrees.

Note that the 63 degree change from Blowing Rock is unofficial, but we are fairly confident that the temperatures reported at that station are reasonable and accurate.

Please rate how helpful this question was to you:

Back to the Ask a Meteorologist page