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Old 12-05-2013, 09:59 PM
 
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Why do the South Atlantic states (GA, SC, NC and VA) have more moderate climates than southern states farther inland (AR, TN, LA, TX)? I live in Athens, GA and I noticed that cities like Dallas were consistently so much hotter than places like Atlanta, Charlotte and Raleigh in the summer. And now, Dallas, Little Rock, Memphis and even Austin are dealing with a huge ice storm while it's around 60-70 degrees in Georgia and the Carolinas.

I also remember times when there was snow and ice as far south as Jackson, New Orleans, and even Houston. Savannah and Charleston are also on the coast at a HIGHER latitude but snow and ice events for those cities are extremely rare.

Can any of your guys clue me in on the climatic differences that create this divide in weather?
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Old 12-05-2013, 10:11 PM
 
Location: Mid Atlantic USA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by workaholics View Post
Why do the South Atlantic states (GA, SC, NC and VA) have more moderate climates than southern states farther inland (AR, TN, LA, TX)? I live in Athens, GA and I noticed that cities like Dallas were consistently so much hotter than places like Atlanta, Charlotte and Raleigh in the summer. And now, Dallas, Little Rock, Memphis and even Austin are dealing with a huge ice storm while it's around 60-70 degrees in Georgia and the Carolinas.

I also remember times when there was snow and ice as far south as Jackson, New Orleans, and even Houston. Savannah and Charleston are also on the coast at a HIGHER latitude but snow and ice events for those cities are extremely rare.

Can any of your guys clue me in on the climatic differences that create this divide in weather?

I think it is fair to say the Appalachians, while rather low in elevation, do tend to mitigate some of the more extreme cold. But in the 1980's Savannah and Charleston got remarkably cold with low temps in the single digits. Maybe the climate cycle of the 80's is returning. December of 1989 was very cold in the South.
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Old 12-06-2013, 09:27 AM
 
Location: Katy, Texas
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Brownsville and Corpus Christi are in the low 40s right now...are they colder than Savannah and Charleston? Houston and New Orleans are warmer than Savannah and Charleston...snow and ice are not common at all.
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Old 12-06-2013, 10:27 AM
 
Location: USA East Coast
4,445 posts, read 9,445,898 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by workaholics View Post
Why do the South Atlantic states (GA, SC, NC and VA) have more moderate climates than southern states farther inland (AR, TN, LA, TX)? I live in Athens, GA and I noticed that cities like Dallas were consistently so much hotter than places like Atlanta, Charlotte and Raleigh in the summer. And now, Dallas, Little Rock, Memphis and even Austin are dealing with a huge ice storm while it's around 60-70 degrees in Georgia and the Carolinas.

I also remember times when there was snow and ice as far south as Jackson, New Orleans, and even Houston. Savannah and Charleston are also on the coast at a HIGHER latitude but snow and ice events for those cities are extremely rare.

Can any of your guys clue me in on the climatic differences that create this divide in weather?
I think it also has to do with the source region (the middle Western States) from where the cold air comes from....where the warm air comes from.... and storm tracks.

Most of the coldest air that enters the USA in winter comes from West of the Great Lakes (through the Dakotas/Montana). The path of this air south is more direct into the lower Gulf south (inland Texas, LA, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennesse)....than out toward the far south Atlantic areas of the south (southern South Carolina, southern/coastal Georgia). There is also a closer source of warm subtropical/tropical air that moves up from Florida and reaches the low Country of GA/SC but not further north or west on average.



Add in the influence of the warm tropical Gulf Stream in coastal areas (Brunswick, Savannah, Charleston...etc), and often places in southern/coastal GA and SC have fewer frost free days than locations at the same latitude in TX, LA, AL, MI, or TN. However as noted above, coastal south Texas and the Delta of LA (New Orleans) are still warmer (on average) than any areas in coastal South Carolina or Georgia. I think in January, the mean temp in Savannah is like 51 F....and it's 53 F in New Orleans and Houston.

This is a map with the number of average of frost free days, it seems to show a bend south in the middle Gulf States, then a curve north in Georgia and South Carolina. So parts of northeastern Texas, LA, southern Mississippi, and southern Alabama have fewer frost free days than south Georgia:


Last edited by wavehunter007; 12-06-2013 at 10:35 AM..
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Old 12-06-2013, 10:29 AM
 
Location: Mid Atlantic USA
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Originally Posted by Asagi View Post
Brownsville and Corpus Christi are in the low 40s right now...are they colder than Savannah and Charleston? Houston and New Orleans are warmer than Savannah and Charleston...snow and ice are not common at all.

Yes, averages are warmer in Houston and New Orleans. However, Charleston airport 10 miles inland averages .2 ice days a year. Savannah airport also well inland averages .1 ice days a year. New Orleans averages .2 ice days a year with the same as Charleston but lower in latitude. Houston has the most with .4 ice days a year on average and lower in latitude than both Charleston and Savannah. Savannah is warmer than Houston and New Orleans in terms of the amount of ice days per year which is rather significant. It has to be because of the mountains modifying that air somewhat. There are also more water modified micro climates around Charleston and Savannah with all those sea islands and marshes. These island climates are nothing like the city airports well inland.

Lady's Island near Beaufort hasn't had a frost for the last three winters, while Charleston and Savannah airports went down into the low 20's in 2010/2011 winter. I follow a community garden blog on that island and they grow blood oranges, bananas and all kinds of citrus. That island is borderline zone 9b/10a. I don't think you have those kind of microclimates around Houston. Galveston Island averages more ice days a year than Savannah at .2 per year.



Sea Island Garden Ladys Island SC:

Sea Island Garden » Blog Archive » A TIME FOR THANKSGIVING










It is late November and their tomato plants are in bloom.











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Old 12-06-2013, 03:42 PM
 
Location: Katy, Texas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tom77falcons View Post

Lady's Island near Beaufort hasn't had a frost for the last three winters, while Charleston and Savannah airports went down into the low 20's in 2010/2011 winter. I follow a community garden blog on that island and they grow blood oranges, bananas and all kinds of citrus. That island is borderline zone 9b/10a. I don't think you have those kind of microclimates around Houston. Galveston Island averages more ice days a year than Savannah at .2 per year.
Average extreme minimum temperatures (2000-2013):

Houston Intercontinental: 26.1F
Houston Hobby: 28.2F
Galveston: 32.0F

Downtown would average just slightly colder than Galveston. Royal palms must be everywhere in Savannah and Charleston...they grow in Galveston. Galveston has better summers though...summer lows in the low-mid 70s is too cold.

I'm still picking peppers out in the cold western 'burbs of Houston...oranges are very common here, most people don't even bother picking them.
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Old 12-06-2013, 03:59 PM
 
Location: A subtropical paradise
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tom77falcons View Post
Yes, averages are warmer in Houston and New Orleans. However, Charleston airport 10 miles inland averages .2 ice days a year. Savannah airport also well inland averages .1 ice days a year. New Orleans averages .2 ice days a year with the same as Charleston but lower in latitude. Houston has the most with .4 ice days a year on average and lower in latitude than both Charleston and Savannah. Savannah is warmer than Houston and New Orleans in terms of the amount of ice days per year which is rather significant. It has to be because of the mountains modifying that air somewhat. There are also more water modified micro climates around Charleston and Savannah with all those sea islands and marshes. These island climates are nothing like the city airports well inland.

Lady's Island near Beaufort hasn't had a frost for the last three winters, while Charleston and Savannah airports went down into the low 20's in 2010/2011 winter. I follow a community garden blog on that island and they grow blood oranges, bananas and all kinds of citrus. That island is borderline zone 9b/10a. I don't think you have those kind of microclimates around Houston. Galveston Island averages more ice days a year than Savannah at .2 per year.



Sea Island Garden Ladys Island SC:

Sea Island Garden » Blog Archive » A TIME FOR THANKSGIVING










It is late November and their tomato plants are in bloom.










Houston's has the most "ice days" because the official airport for weather (Bush IAH) is in a more inland, and northerly location than the rest of the metro. Areas around downtown onward to the bay are even warmer. The airports you listed for Charleston and Savannah aren't all that far from the central business districts (8 miles for Savannah, 13 for Charleston) , and both airports are very near the Atlantic coast. Bush IAH is over 20 miles away from Downtown Houston(which is some distance from the coast itself), so it is much inland compared to the aforementioned airports in Savannah and Georgia. In addition, Houston (even its inland Bush Airport) and New Orleans already have warmer averages than Charleston and Savannah. San Antonio and Austin, inland cities, also have warmer average temps than coastal Georgia and South Carolina. Heck, even Dallas has winter lows comparable with those from cities in coastal Georgia and South Carolina.

I have explored Houston for some time, and I do say it does have micro climates, where you can have an over ten degree difference between the inland parts of the metro, and the coastal parts in winter time low temps. Lady's Island escaped freezes for three years? Well, Galveston actually went eight straight years without freezing until 2008, and after 2011, has gone two years without freezing. Galveston's winter averages are warmer, on average, than San Diego's. Galveston Island can support Royal Palms. In fact, Houston south of I-10 has shown success in growing Royal Palms.

All in all, New Orleans and Houston both have warmer weather, on average, than Charleston and Savannah.

Last edited by Yn0hTnA; 12-06-2013 at 05:21 PM..
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Old 12-06-2013, 04:38 PM
 
Location: A subtropical paradise
2,069 posts, read 2,528,633 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by workaholics View Post
Why do the South Atlantic states (GA, SC, NC and VA) have more moderate climates than southern states farther inland (AR, TN, LA, TX)? I live in Athens, GA and I noticed that cities like Dallas were consistently so much hotter than places like Atlanta, Charlotte and Raleigh in the summer. And now, Dallas, Little Rock, Memphis and even Austin are dealing with a huge ice storm while it's around 60-70 degrees in Georgia and the Carolinas.

I also remember times when there was snow and ice as far south as Jackson, New Orleans, and even Houston. Savannah and Charleston are also on the coast at a HIGHER latitude but snow and ice events for those cities are extremely rare.

Can any of your guys clue me in on the climatic differences that create this divide in weather?


Cold fronts move west to east. What gets Austin,Dallas, Memphis, and Little Rock first will affect Atlanta, Charlotte, and Raleigh later. Also, the jet-stream can be orientated in a way that Texas gets the brunt of the cold weather, or it can be orientated in a way that the Southeast gets the brunt of cold weather. This year, the Jet stream seems to be more unusually focused towards the South Central states. And let's broaden the horizons a bit; Seattle, and the rest of the Pacific Northwest have recorded record-breaking freezes down to the teens for the past few days, while London is staying warmer. I'm not just going to take that, and say that London has a warmer climate than Seattle. It just has to do with weather patterns that vary year by year.

Anyways, Savannah and Charleston have also had cold weather events. Ice weather events for Houston, Jackson, and New Orleans are rare as well. Savannah recorded a low of 3F, lower than all the cities listed except Jackson with a record of -5F.

So not much in the way of climate differences, its just the way things are playing out as of late.
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Old 12-06-2013, 05:09 PM
 
Location: Top of the South, NZ
18,988 posts, read 16,788,386 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asagi View Post

oranges are very common here, most people don't even bother picking them.
I think that would be similar everywhere citrus grow easily. Citrus are such heavy croppers that it's hard for a household to keep up with one plant, let alone three or four. I have big juicing sessions once in a while, that helps.
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Old 12-06-2013, 07:29 PM
 
Location: USA East Coast
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yn0hTnA View Post
Houston (even its inland Bush Airport) and New Orleans already have warmer averages than Charleston and Savannah. San Antonio and Austin, inland cities, also have warmer average temps than coastal Georgia and South Carolina. Heck, even Dallas has winter lows comparable with those from cities in coastal Georgia and South Carolina.


All in all, New Orleans and Houston both have warmer weather, on average, than Charleston and Savannah.
Not sure that all of that is correct – especially in coastal Georgia.

In the coldest month (January), coastal Georgia is just as warm - if not slightly warmer, both in average winter lows and monthly mean temperatures than Houston, Austin, or San Antonio.

According to their respective NWS data…. The average/normal January low in Houston is 42 F…. Austin 41 F…..and San Antonio 40 F. The normal January low in Brunswick, GA is 42 F. The same seems true for average monthly temps: In January monthly mean temps in Brunswick, GA are 52. 3 F…..warmer than Austin, TX (51.5 F)…. and San Antonio (51. 8 F). Even Houston (52.7 F) and New Orleans (53 F) are only slight warmer (by 0.4 to 0.7 F) than Brunswick, GA.

Brunswick, GA:National Weather Service Climate
San Antonio/Austin: National Weather Service Climate
Houston, TX: National Weather Service Climate

Dallas is in a different ballpark. The average January low in Dallas is 35 F….not even close to Charleston 38 F, Savannah 39 F….or other areas of coastal Georgia/southern South Carolina which are near 40 F.
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