The climate of North Carolina is mild and constant due in part to its geographical position. Two other climate modifiers are the Appalachian Mountain chain, which forms a sheild from northwest winds, adn the softening influence of the gulf stream, the current which sweeps along the North Carolina coast in the Atlantic Ocean.
Two great currents meet off the coast of North Carolina. The Labrador Current flows south and contains cold water, and the Gulf Stream flows north bringing with it warm water. During the winter, the cold Labrador Current creates an especially strong temperature contrast off the coast of North Carolina when it meets with the Gulf Stream. This zone of temperature variance is one of the key ingredients for the formation of storms and coastal fronts in North Carolina.
The Gulf Stream does have a direct effect on the temperatures in north carolina, especially in the coastal region. Coastal fronts are common during the winter months, when cold air moving off the eastern coast meets warm air over the Gulf Stream. The cold air soon becomes heated by the warm water and rises. It can then go back over land where the cold air mass is. If the warm air produces any precipitation, then it has to fall through the layer of cold air, and freezes. The farther west you go, the more likely this precipitation is to be snow. Farther east, it would more likely to be frozen rain or sleet.
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