May 2023 saw cooler-than-average temperatures on Grandfather Mountain, according to data recorded at the park’s official weather reporting stations.
The average high temperature for May 2023 was 55.26 degrees Fahrenheit, the third-lowest on record. Meanwhile, both the average low of 44.12 degrees and the mean of 49.69 degrees were more comparable to temperatures historically observed on the mountain during this month.
The warmest temperature recorded last month was 65.8 degrees on May 16, just over 12 degrees shy of the mountain’s record May high of 78 degrees, observed May 19, 1996.
Generally, May sees spring-like weather conditions arrive on Grandfather Mountain, though some chilly temperatures can still persist. May 1 saw the coldest temperature recorded last month with 27.9 degrees. The lowest temperature ever observed for this month (not counting wind chill) is 15 degrees on May 6, 1957.
The weather station on the Mile High Swinging Bridge noted five days in May with a wind gust higher than 60 mph. On May 1, the weather station at the top recorded a wind gust of 81.9 mph, while the month’s highest recorded sustained wind speed clocked in at 48.5 mph on May 3. The highest gust ever recorded on Grandfather Mountain was 124 mph, observed Feb. 25, 2019.
The weather station near the Swinging Bridge reported 4.46 inches of precipitation in May 2023. 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 saw 4.85 inches of precipitation and a trace amount of snowfall on May 3. 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 May was recorded in 2018, when 19.70 inches were observed near the bridge. That year saw widespread flooding and damage across the region from Storm Alberto. The driest May on record was observed in 2007, when 1.43 inches were recorded.
There were 20 days of recorded liquid precipitation (rain and the liquid equivalent of frozen precipitation, when applicable) for May 2023, five days short of the record 25 days in 2009. The day last month with the highest amount of this precipitation observed was May 29, when 1.29 inches were recorded at the top. The day with the highest amount of precipitation observed on record for May was May 28, 1973, when the weather station noted 4.67 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.