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Climate

Franklin, NC and Highlands, NC are the two towns located in Macon County. Franklin’s elevation is 2,119 feet and Highlands elevation is over 4,100 feet in some areas. Highlands, NC is only 19 miles away from Franklin, NC. The annual rainfall in Franklin being 54.47 inches annually is substantially lower than Highlands annual rainfall, which is 77.57 inches annually. (2) The annual precipitation in Franklin is fairly evenly distributed throughout the year. The wettest month of the year is March with an average rainfall of 5.76 Inches. (1)

Since the elevation in Highlands, NC is so drastically increased in the 19 miles between Franklin, NC, orographic precipitation squeezes the moisture right out of the air currents moving into Highlands and other higher elevations surrounding Franklin as well. During orographic precipitation, air is raised up and then lowered and to this effect creates rain and snow that otherwise would not fall. Because Franklin, NC is surrounded by the Great Smoky Mountains on all sides, Franklin is protected by this natural barrier from severe weather all year round, but still falls under orographic precipitation do to being located on the leeward side of the Appalachian Mountain Chain.

Macon County, because of its rich vegetation, mild temperatures and consistent rainfall is classified as a temperate climate region. Because Macon County falls on the leeward side of the Appalachian Mountain Range, a milder form of orographic precipitation is created here (please see photo below).

 
Summertime In The Mountains

In the summertime, Macon County residents experiences high temperatures in the lower 80's while during the winter temperatures rarely stay below freezing during the daytime (winters day view below).



Winters Day On The Blue Ridge Parkway

The warmest month of the year is July with an average temperature of 73 degrees Fahrenheit. Thecoldest month of the year is January with an average temperature of 36 degrees Fahrenheit.

Temperature variations between night and day tend to be moderate during summer with a difference that can reach 22 degrees Fahrenheit, and moderate during winter with an average difference of 25 degrees Fahrenheit. (1) Overall, with the annual temperatures being not too hot or too cold give the residents here in Franklin, NC seasonal advantages unlike any where else on the planet (please see photo below).

 
Nothing Beats A Drive During The Fall

Temperatures vary from place to place throughout Western North Carolina. There are many variables that might affect temperature such as: valleys, rivers and the mountains. If you’re in a cloud, which in many instances is the case throughout The Great Smoky Mountains when it rains or snows, the temperature decreases by about 3.3 degrees Fahrenheit for every 1,000 feet you go up in elevation. However, If there is no snow or rain falling from the sky and you’re not in a cloud, then the temperature decreases by about 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit for every 1,000 feet you go up in elevation. (3)

So if your heading to a higher elevation like Wayah Bald for a hike or a scenic getaway on the Blue Ridge Parkway, remember to keep a jacket or sweater on hand (please see photo below)

 
"Heaven on Earth"

 

The local weather stations here in Western North Carolina use doppler radar to detect when and where severe weather is going to impact. For local Western North Carolina weather and other information for WNC please visit www.maconnc.org/weather for the latest forecast and conditions. In addition, The Weather Channel gives a comprehensible outline for the local weather forecast in Franklin, NC and may be viewed at www.weather.com using the zip code 28734 for the search criteria.

References

1. http://www.idcide.com/weather/nc/franklin.htm

2. Highlands Chamber of Commerce Website

3. http://www.onthesnow.com/news/a/15157/ask-a-weatherman-how-does-elevation-affect-temperature