Climate and monthly weather forecast
Virginia, USA

Flag of Virginia, USA
Flag of Virginia, USA

The climate of Virginia

Virginia has a humid subtropical type of climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa) in the majority of the state. The climate is humid continental (Köppen Dfa) and oceanic (Köppen Cfb) in the mountains west of the Blue Ridge. Virginia lies in the southeastern part of the United States and is a Mid-Atlantic state. North Carolina to the south, Tennessee to the southwest, Kentucky to the west, West Virginia to the north and west, Maryland and Washington D.C. to the north and east, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east share borders with the state. The Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf Stream, and the Appalachian and the Blue Ridge Mountains wield significant influence on the climate.

Virginia, the Old Dominion State, has an average elevation of 290 meters, with the highest elevation of 1746 meters at Mount Rogers. The Chesapeake Bay separates the Eastern Shore from the contiguous portion of the state and drains major rivers, including the Potomac and the York. The Tidewater region is a coastal plain between the Atlantic coast and the Bay Area. The Piedmont region lies to the east of the mountains and consists of rocky foothills. Towards the west of the Appalachians, lies the Ridge and Valley region. The southwest corner of Virginia hosts the Cumberland Plateau and the Cumberland Mountains.

Virginia summers range from warm to hot, with the average high temperature at 86°F (30°C) at the peak of July. The temperatures register above 95°F (35°C) in the southern and eastern parts of the state. Winters are frigid, with average low temperatures dropping to 26°F (-3.3°C) at the peak of the cold season in January. Cold air masses lead to substantial snowfall during the invasion of Nor'easters that move up the Atlantic coast. The northern Blue Ridge Mountains endure bitter cold during the winter. Spring is wet and cold in the early part of the season, with the second maxima of rainfall in late May. Autumn is mild in the first half and tends to be cold with relatively less rainfall in the second half of the season.

The average rainfall in Virginia is 43" (1092mm), with an even distribution throughout the year. Summer is the wettest season, while winter receives the least amount of precipitation. The precipitation ranges from 33" (838mm) in the Shenandoah Valley to 60" (1524mm) in the southwestern mountains. Snowfall occurs mainly from December to March and registers in the zone of 8" (203mm) along the coast to 25" (635mm) in the mountains. Heavy snow is common in Piedmont and mountainous regions, with the Appalachians registering over 100" (2540mm) of snow annually. Virginia receives between 2500 to 2600 hours of annual sunshine, while the humidity averages in the 65% to 70% range over the year.

Balcony Falls holds the record of the highest ever temperature of 110°F (43.3°C) on July 15, 1954, in Virginia, while Pembroke recorded the coldest temperature of -30°F (-34.4°C) on January 22, 1985.

The best time to visit Virginia

The best time to visit Virginia is usually from April in mid-spring to October in autumn, including the summer. April is drier than May, and the snowfall is negligible in the majority of the state by the end of March. Summers are hot and humid, and thunderstorms contribute a high percentage of the rainfall. The bright sunshine and long days attract many tourists, and the growing season is in full swing. Autumn is colorful and mild in the first half, with fewer incidences of hurricanes and storms. There are many festivals in the bright summer and mild fall seasons.

The worst time to visit Virginia

The worst time to visit Virginia is during the cold winter season from December to February. The cold is numbing, and mercury readings below 15°F (-9.4°C) are common in the mountains. The snowfall is significant, if not massive, especially in the western Blue Ridge Mountains. The coastal plains are warmer than the interior but regularly record freezing nights. Snowstorms occasionally occur in the cold season and deposit heavy snow. Wind speeds cross 70mph (112.7km/h) during the Nor'easters that sweep the coast. The winter season sees the lowest number of visitors in the year.

Weather hazards

Virginia is vulnerable to thunderstorms, hurricanes, tornadoes, and snowstorms. Thunderstorms occur throughout the year, but summer hosts the highest numbers. Southern Virginia is more prone to thunderstorms, which mainly appear in the afternoons. Hurricanes and tropical cyclones occur majorly along the coast. Hurricane Isabel, Gaston, and Camille are examples of a few storms that brought destruction in the form of wind and rain. Virginia has an annual average of seven tornadoes and 40 days of thunderstorm activity. Storms bring torrential rainfall within a matter of a few hours. Winters see occasional snowstorms and cold fronts.

Weather in January

January is the peak of the winter season in Virginia, with the average low temperatures dropping to 26°F (-3.3°C). Nights are below freezing in the state, including the coastal regions. Richmond, the capital, and Arlington, both in the Piedmont region, have average temperatures in the 28°F (-2.2°C) to 47°F (8.3°C) range. Precipitation is to the tune of 3" (76mm) to 3.5" (89mm), with the mountains and coasts rainier than the interior. Weather in January »

Weather in February

February is chilly in Virginia as cold conditions persist across the state. The days are mild to cold, and the nights are freezing. Roanoke and Staunton in the mountain region register temperatures between 26°F (-3.3°C) to 49°F (9.4°C) range, while Charlottesville and Lynchburg in the Piedmont region are between 27°F (-2.8°C) to 49°F (9.4°C). Weather in February »

Weather in March

March is cold in the spring season in Virginia, with the snow still lingering in the mountains. The rest of the state receives light snowfall and moderate precipitation. The average high temperatures are between 52°F (11.1°C) to 61°F (16.1°C), while the average low temperatures are in the 28°F (-2.2°C) to 40°F (4.4°C) zone. Weather in March »

Weather in April

April begins the period of comfortable weather in Virginia with the advance of the spring season. The conditions are relatively drier compared to late spring and summer, and the snow disappears from the ground. Day temperatures are in the pleasant 60°F (15.6°C) to 71°F (21.7°C) range, while nights are cold between 38°F (3.3°C) to 51°F (10.6°C). Weather in April »

Weather in May

May is the peak of the spring season in Virginia, with plenty of sunny days. The blossoming flowers and bustling activities of birds and animals fill the land with joy. The average high temperatures are in the beautiful 68°F (20°C) to 78°F (25.6°C) range, while the average low temperatures are in the comfortable 48°F (8.9°C) to 58°F (14.4°C). Mountain trails are open, and hiking and camping gather momentum. Weather in May »

Weather in June

June begins the warm to the hot summer season in Virginia, with extended hours of daylight. The daily sunlight lasts between 8 to 9 hours in the state, including the mountains. The days tend to be hot and humid, with average high temperatures in the 75°F (23.9°C) to 88°F (31.1°C) range. Weather in June »

Weather in July

July is usually the hottest month of the year in Virginia, with the average high temperatures in the range of 78°F (25.6°C) to 92°F (33.3°C). The ocean waters are warm during the afternoons, and the intense sunshine mandates sun protection gear. Weather in July »

Weather in August

August is a hot summer month in Virginia that also sees significant storm activity. Hurricanes and tropical storms are frequent and bring up to 40% of the rainfall. The precipitation is to the tune of 3" (76mm) to 6" (152mm), with the highest numbers along the coast where the storms move up from the south. The average temperatures are in the 61°F (16.1°C) to 89°F (31.7°C) range statewide, with many sunny days along with partly cloudy ones. Weather in August »

Weather in September

September is the beginning of the beautiful autumn season of Virginia, with bright sunshine and mild temperatures. The forests, countryside, and mountains attain bright shades of yellow, crimson, orange, and golden colors with the advance of the fall season. The hot and humid conditions transform into comfortable temperatures, which average between 48°F (8.9°C) to 83°F (28.3°C). Weather in September »

Weather in October

October is the time of peak fall foliage in Virginia amid pleasant conditions. The skies are mostly clear, with the storm season on the wane. Thunderstorms occur in Virginia in all the seasons even though their numbers decline in the autumn. Weather in October »

Weather in November

November ends the autumn season in Virginia, with a significant drop in temperatures across the state. The average high temperatures are in the warm 53°F (11.7°C) to 63°F (17.2°C), while the average low temperatures are between 29°F (-1.7°C) to 46°F (7.8°C). Weather in November »

Weather in December

December is a cold winter month in Virginia, with moderate snowfall and precipitation. The average temperatures are in the cold zone of 22°F (-5.6°C) to 53°F (11.7°C), with coastal places like Norfolk, Suffolk, and Hampton considerably warm between 34°F (1.1°C) to 53°F (11.7°C). The snowfall is in the 6" (152mm) to 10" (254mm) ranges in the mountains, while the Piedmont region receives 2" (51mm) to 4" (102mm). Weather in December »
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