When are the coldest nights of the year in the United States
November 14, 2014 at 2:37 PM EST - Updated July 28 at 12:05 AM
Climate is what to expect. Weather is what you get.
It's almost impossible to figure out the exactly when the coldest day of a given year will be. Reliable computer modeling, even with advances in technology, is only good up to 16 days in the future. But past climate data can paint a picture of when it typically will occur.
The big talker over the past week has been the big Arctic plunge invading much of the nation. The National Climatic Data Center put out this map this week, giving an idea of when typical coldest nights are for a given location.
There is an obvious divide between the eastern and western United States. The western United States typically see their coldest day around the winter solstice, while the eastern United States vary from early January to late March. Much of that is caused by snow cover across the eastern US that reflects the sunlight back into atmosphere, which in turn keeps temperatures cooler for longer.
In southeast North Carolina, our coldest nights usually fall between January 5th-12th. Remember, climate is what to expect, weather is what you get. Wilmington's all-time record low temperature is 0° set on December 25th, 1989. This occurred after the "Blizzard of 1989" when we had over 15 inches of snow on the ground.
On the flip side, our warmest days usually occur between July 11th-18th, though our all-time record high of 104° occurred on June 27th, 1952.