Last Updated on January 22, 2024 4:34 pm
The average high temperature for December 2023 was 40.41 degrees Fahrenheit, with an average low of 28.91 degrees and a mean of 34.66 degrees.
The warmest temperature recorded last month was 52.7 degrees on Dec. 2, more than 10 degrees shy of the mountain’s record December high of 63 degrees, observed on Dec. 7, 1956. Generally, December sees winter weather conditions set in on Grandfather Mountain.
Dec. 19 saw the coldest temperature recorded last month with 6.6 degrees. A wind chill of minus 20.65 was noted that same day. Dec. 6, 7, 11, 18 and 29 also recorded negative wind chills. The lowest temperature ever observed on Grandfather Mountain in the month of December (not counting wind chill) was minus 21 degrees on Dec. 25, 1983.
The weather station on the Mile High Swinging Bridge noted six days in December with a wind gust higher than 60 mph. On Dec. 18, the weather station at the top recorded a wind gust of 83.7 mph, while the month’s highest recorded sustained wind speed clocked in at 49 mph on Dec. 10. The highest gust ever recorded on Grandfather Mountain was 124 mph, observed Feb. 25, 2019.
The weather station near the Swinging Bridge reported 9.44 inches of precipitation in December 2023, the fourth-highest total on record for this month. Precipitation at the top of the mountain includes rain and the liquid equivalent of any frozen precipitation (when applicable).
Observations recorded near the park’s Wilson Center for Nature Discovery totaled 11.36 inches of precipitation and also noted 4 inches of snowfall for the month. Precipitation is also measured at the latter location, as high winds can make it difficult to record accurate observations at the top.
The mountain’s rainiest December was recorded in 2018, when 10.70 inches were observed near the bridge. The driest December on record was observed in 1965, when 0.55 inches were measured at the top.
There were 20 days of at least trace amounts of recorded liquid precipitation (rain and the liquid equivalent of frozen precipitation, when applicable) for December 2023, two days short of the record high of 22 days in 1972 and 1981. The day last month with the highest amount of this precipitation observed was Dec. 26, when 3.43 inches were recorded at the top. (Note, the mountain was closed on Dec. 25 for Christmas, and any precipitation from that day was subsequently recorded on Dec. 26.) This measurement nearly matched the day with the highest amount of precipitation on record for December, which was Dec. 28, 1958, when the weather station observed 3.46 inches.
The Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation records and reports data in two different ways:
- The park maintains an automated weather station at the top of the Mile High Swinging Bridge. The N.C. State Climate Office assists the foundation in calibrating the machines and ensuring overall accuracy of data.
- Grandfather Mountain has been an active member of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Cooperative Observer Program since 1955 by reporting weather data from locations near the Mile High Swinging Bridge and the Nature Museum (now the Wilson Center for Nature Discovery).
For more information on weather at Grandfather Mountain, visit www.grandfather.com/weather.
The nonprofit Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation strives to inspire conservation of the natural world by helping guests explore, understand and value the wonders of Grandfather Mountain. For more information, visit www.grandfather.com.
December 2023 saw quite a bit of rainfall on Grandfather Mountain, according to data recorded at the park’s official weather reporting stations. The weather station near the Swinging Bridge reported 9.44 inches of precipitation in December 2023, the fourth-highest total on record for this month. (Photo Courtesy of Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation / Skip Sickler)