Historical Weather Information

Average Temperature: 62F

Average Rainfall: 52.16″

Average Snowfall: 2.1″

Number of Days of Precipitation: 117

Number of Days of Maximum Daily Temperature Above 90 degrees: 51.8

Number of Days of Maximum Daily Temperature Below 32 degrees: 3.5

Number of Days of Minimum Daily Temperature Below 32 degrees: 53

Freezes: First in early November, last in mid to late March

 

JANUARY

January is normally the coldest month but there is not much difference from mid-December to mid-February. Overall, winters are relatively mild. Even in cold spells, it is unusual for the temperature to remain below freezing all day. Sub-zero cold is extremely rare, occurring only a very few times this century. Extremely low temperatures almost always occur under clear skies after a snowfall.

Visitors in January will find that the average high in Birmingham is 52.8F, the average January low is 32.3F, both the coldest averages of the year.  At the beginning of the month, the average high is 54F, and it falls back to 53F before rising to 55F at the end of the month.  The average low is 34F throughout the month. The coldest all time reading in Birmingham is -6F on January 21, 1985.  It has been as warm as 81F on January 10th, in 1949.  The mercury drops to 32F or below on about 15 days in the month.

On average, Birmingham receives 4.84 inches of rain, making it the second wettest on average.  Only March is wetter.  Rain generally falls on 11 days in the month.  13.37 inches of rain fell in January 1937. Thunder is generally heard on two days in the month and fog is experienced on one day on average in January.

Snowfall is erratic. Sometimes there is a two- or three-year span with no measurable snow. On rare occasions, there may be a 2 to 4 inch snowstorm. The snow usually melts quickly. Even 1 or 2 inches of snow can effectively shut down this sunbelt city because of the hilly terrain, the wetness of the snow and the unfamiliarity of motorists driving on snow and ice. Birmingham receives 1.6 inches of snow on average, with nearly one half (0.6 inches) falling in the first month of the year.  11.80 inches of snow fell in January 1936.  An inch of snow or more falls generally every five years or so in Birmingham in January.

January is the cloudiest month of the year.  The sky is cloudy 48% of the time on average.  It’s also the foggiest month, with dense fog reported on 1.3 days on average during the month.

  • Bill Murray/AlabamaWX.com

FEBRUARY

February 2nd is Candlemas Day.  It is the traditional midpoint of winter.  By early February, Alabama is beginning to really feel the move toward spring.  Days are lengthening and average temperatures are slowing warming as the amount of sunshine increases each day.  At the beginning of the month, the average high and low for Birmingham is 55F/35F.  By the end of the month, the averages are 62F and 40F.  On average, the mercury drops to freezing or below on 9.7 nights, down slightly from the 114.9 in January.

Birmingham’s coldest day on record (-10F) occurred on February 13, 1899, during the mother of all U.S. cold waves.  Records in Birmingham were kept at the U.S. Weather Bureau Office in Fountain Heights then.  If the observation had been made at the current Airport location, the all time low would probably be -14F.  The warmest February reading on record in Birmingham is 83F, recorded on three different dates in history.

February is the middle month in the wettest three month period on average in the Magic City.  During our “rainy season,” we typically receive just under 15 inches of rain.  On average, 4.53 inches of rain falls in Birmingham in February.  17.67 inches fell in February 1961, the wettest second month observed here.  February 1968 saw only 1.20 inches of rain, the driest February ever.  The 6.00 inches of rain that fell on February 7, 1903 is the daily record for the month.

Typically, it will rain on 10 days in February and thunderstorms occur on 2.3 days.  By these measurements, February looks a lot like January.

Snowfall is erratic. Sometimes there is a two- or three-year span with no measurable snow. On rare occasions, there may be a 2 to 4 inch snowstorm. The snow usually melts quickly. Even 1 or 2 inches of snow can effectively shut down this sunbelt city because of the hilly terrain, the wetness of the snow and the unfamiliarity of motorists driving on snow and ice. On average, Birmingham receives a 0.1 inches of snow in February.  The greatest daily amount of snow observed in the city is 5 inches on February 23, 1901.

After January, which features the lowest percentage of possible sunshine at 41%, February is sunnier featuring 50% of possible sunshine on average, moving toward the sunniest month, May which features 66% of possible sunshine on average.  Fog reduces visibility to ¼ mile or less on one day during the month.

MARCH

March marks the start of both meteorological and astronomical spring.  It is definitely a time of transition in Alabama.   As the days lengthen and the sun moves higher in the sky, average temperatures start to climb.  The average high in Birmingham at the start of the month is 62F.  By month’s end, the average daytime high is 71F.  The average low at the start of the month is 41F.  By March 31st, the average is 47F.

The warmest it has ever been in March was 90F on March 21st, 1907, as Birmingham was in the middle of an unusual heat wave.  That reading was taken when the official observation station was at the U.S. Weather Bureau office in Fountain Heights, near Downtown.  The hottest it ever was at the Birmingham Airport was 89F on March 19. 1982.

The coldest March reading in Birmingham history was 2F on March 14, 1993.  That was the day after the 1993 blizzard, which is also remarkable for producing the city’s biggest snowfall ever, 13 inches at the Airport.  The temperature generally drops to freezing or below on only 3.7 days in the month.  The average date of the last freeze usually occurs in mid to late March.

March is the wettest month of the year in Birmingham.  On average, 5.23 inches of rain falls in the Magic City.  The 15.80 inches that fell in March 1980 is the most ever recorded in the third month of the year.  It occurred during a month of flooding. The 1.02 inches that fell in 2007 is the least recorded in March.   It rains on 10.2 days on average, which ranks third behind July at 11.7 days and January at 10.5 days.

Thunderstorms occur on 4.5 days. The months of April through August are all stormier, but March does mark the beginning of the primary severe weather season, at least in North and Central Alabama.  Alabama’s deadliest tornado outbreak in history occurred on March 21, 1932.

The percentage of possible sunshine is on the increase, averaging 55% in the month, up from the 42 percent that is typical of January, but still less than the 66 percent we usually see in May and October.   The sky is cloudy 41 percent of the time.  It is clear 24.2 percent of the time.

March is the windiest month of the year, with an average wind speed of 7.5 mph.

Bill Murray/AlabamaWX.com

APRIL

April is one of the most changeable months weatherwise in Central Alabama. It often features some of the finest weather of the year with spectacularly mild, sunny days and clear cool nights, but can often turn ugly with tornadoes, flooding rains and late season cold snaps.

The average high in Birmingham at the start of the month is 71F. By month’s end, the average daytime high is 77F. The average low at the start of the month is 45F. By April 30th, the average is 52F. The warmest it has ever been in the month was 92F on April 21st, 1987, as Birmingham was in the middle of an unusual heat wave.

The coldest April reading in Birmingham history was 26F on April 11th, 1973. The temperature generally drops to freezing or below on 1.2 days in the month. The average date of the last freeze is March 30th, but freezing temperatures have been recorded as late as April 23rd, which occurred back in 1986.

Seven months of the year have more rainfall than April, and three have less. April’s average monthly rainfall of 4.38 inches is a little less than an inch less than the 5.23 inches recorded on average in March, the wettest month of the year. 13.75 inches of rain fell in April 1979, a month that saw some of the worst flooding in history across Central Alabama. It can snow in April, as evidenced by the 5 inches that fell on April 3, 1987. It rains on 9.1 days on average. Thunderstorms occur on 5.0 days on average. April is the prime severe weather season in Central Alabama. Some of the worst tornadoes in the state’s history have occurred in April, including the Superoutbreaks of April 3-4, 1974 and April 27, 2011.   The April 4, 1977 F5 tornado that ripped across the northern part of Birmingham killed 22 and the April 8, 1998 F5 that struck western parts of Jefferson County that killed 32.

The percentage of possible sunshine is on the increase in the month as we move further away from winter, averaging 63% in the month, not far from the 66% we see in May and October. The sky is cloudy 32 percent of the time. It is clear 28.7 percent of the time.  On average, dense fog occurs on only 0.4 days a month.

April is the second windiest month of the year, with a mean wind speed of 7.2 mph, just behind March’s 7.6 mph.

MAY

The fifth month of the year features some of the best weather of the year in Central Alabama, with runs of fine, warm and sunshine filled days.  It is a lot like October, its closest cousin, but generally warmer.  The average percentage of possible sunshine is 66 percent, equal to October, which is the other sunniest month of the year.

At the start of the month, the average high is 78F, but it rises to 85F by the end of the month.  Overnight lows warm, rising from 55F on May 1st to 64F on the 31st.   The coldest May reading ever in the Magic City was 36F on May 4, 1971.  The warmest reading ever in May was 99F on May 28, 1962 and May 29, 1898.  It generally reaches 90F or warmer 1.9 days in the month. Heating degree days are nearly zero in May, but cooling degree days start to really rise as we head toward the unrelenting heat of summer.

May averages 4.99 inches of rain.  It usually rains on 9.1 days on average, and rains more than 1 inch on 1.4 days.  Thunderstorms occur on 9 days.  The average dewpoint is starting to climb, rising from 49F in April to 58F in May, making it feel more humid.

JUNE

The sixth month of the year in Birmingham features warm temperatures, increasing humidity and generally light precipitation.

It is tied with April for the 4th driest month, averaging 4.38 inches of rain.  Only August, September and October are drier.  Afternoon and evening thunderstorms become a frequent occurrence, generally happening on 8.9 days during the month.  In fact, much of the rain that falls in the month is associated with thunderstorms.

On average, measurable rain falls on 11.0 days during the month.  12.09 inches of rain fell in June 1900, which stands as the all-time record for the month.  At the airport, where records have been kept for 69 years, the wettest month was June 1999, when 9.04 inches fell.  Early season Gulf tropical cyclones sometimes produce heavy rounds of precipitation. As you would expect, cloudy periods are rare.  June is the second sunniest month, behind May, averaging 65% of possible sunshine.  The average PM relative humidity is on the rise, at 73%, rising from the 64% observed in March.  The average dew point reaches 67.4F, which feels muggy.   This is up from the 60.4F in May.

On June 1, the average high and low is 85/64.  By June 30th, it will be 90/70.  The coolest it has ever been in June is 42F on June 1, 1966. It has been as warm as 106F on June 29, 1931.

JULY

As you would expect, July is the hottest month of the year in Birmingham. The average daytime high is 90.8F. The average overnight low is 71.4. There really isn’t much difference on average between July and August. The hottest day ever in Birmingham, occurred on July 29, 1930, when the mercury hit a sizzling 107F. The temperature has reached 105F or higher on 16 occasions in Birmingham.  Eleven of those times were observed in the month of July. The mercury reaches 90F or higher on 18.4 days on average in July. The coolest reading ever observed in the Magic City in July was 51F back on July 15, 1967.

July is not one of our sunniest month with 59% of possible sunshine on average. Six months are sunnier. Rain is usually observed on 13.7 days in the month and thunderstorms occur on 11.7 days in the month, both tops for the year. On average, 4.80 inches of rain falls during the month. The most ever observed is 20.12 in July 1916. That is also the wettest month ever in Birmingham history. In 1983, 0.30 fell during the month, the driest July ever.

AUGUST

By August, we are on the downhill run of summer. You might not notice, but the days are getting shorter. And with the lessened solar energy, the temperatures start to go down

July is Birmingham’s hottest month, but there is really very little difference from mid-June to mid-August. Right now, the normal high is 91F, the normal low 72F. By the end of the month, the normal high will be 89F and the normal low 69F. The hottest it has ever been in Birmingham in any August is 105F on August 15th and 23rd in 2007.  The coolest August reading is 51F on August 31, 1946.

It generally rains on 9.6 days in the month, with storms on nine (8.8). The normal monthly rainfall is 3.93 inches. 13.83 inches fell in Birmingham in 1901, to set the mark for the most ever in any August. In 1989, only 0.38 inches of rain fell in the month. August is the least cloudy month in Birmingham, with the sky being cloudy only 19% of the time. This fact is a little misleading, as there are months, including September and October with a lower percentage mean sky cover.

SEPTEMBER

By September, the days are considerably shorter than they were at the Summer Solstice back in June and gradually the energy budget of the atmosphere is shrinking.  The sun is making less in the way of deposits and the atmosphere is taking more in the form of withdrawals. The average high in September in Birmingham is 85.1 and the average low a much more comfortable 63.4.  Both averages are 5-6 degrees lower than those of August.

It has been 105F or hotter eighteen times in Birmingham since 1900, and four of them occurred in September 1925, including September hottest reading of 106F. The coldest September low (37F) occurred on the 30th in 1967.  September 1967 also recorded the coldest average low temperature, with an average of 57.6F.

Rainfall picks up a bit in September, generally thanks to weakening tropical systems moving in from the Gulf.  We average 3.90 inches of rain in the month.  13.19 inches fell in September 1906, the most ever in the month.   9.75 inches of rain fell on September 16, 2004 as Hurricane Ivan moved across the area; a record for any date. Summer thunderstorms are on the way out, so we generally only see storms on four days on average, and it rains on 7.4 days on average. The sky is clear 27% of the time, only surpassed by April, November, and October, one of the best months of the year in Alabama weather wise.

OCTOBER

October is arguably the nicest month for weather in Central Alabama.  Of course, our perception of what is nice is subjective and personal.  A slow day-long soaking rain is probably the most beautiful weather I can think of right now. October ranks as the driest month in Birmingham with an average 3.44 inches of rainfall in the month.  11.90 inches fell in October 1995, thanks to Hurricane Opal.  Four Octobers have been completely dry, including 1897, 1899, 1901 and 1924.  October 2016 saw only a trace as we were in the middle of a flash drought.

Temperatures will really start to fall off in the month ahead as the heat budget continues to become more negative as daily sunlight continues to decrease in both duration and sky angle.  The average high today is 80F, but that will fall to 71F by the end of the month.  The average low for today is 58F, but that too will fall to 48F by Halloween.

Birmingham’s earliest recorded freeze occurred on October 18, 1948.  The coldest it has ever been in the Magic City in any October is 27F on October 28, 1957 and October 29, 1952.  Three 94F readings have been recorded, all early in the month.  A high of 90F has been recorded as late as October 20th.  E only see 90F in the month about once every three years. on average, measurable rain is received on 7.6 days in the month and thunderstorms occur on an average of 1.4 days.  It is one of the sunnier months with sunny conditions 66% of the time, tying it with May for sunniest.

NOVEMBER

November is the transition month to winter across much of the country, and Alabama is no exception.  The days are approaching their shortest of the year, and the heat budget is becoming increasingly negative, so average temperatures are dropping. The storm track is becoming more active and precipitation totals are increasing. There is a secondary severe weather season in November in Alabama that in some recent years has been busier than the spring primary season. In 2002, an unusually strong outbreak on November 10th produced a series of ten tornadoes across North Alabama that killed 12.  Two of the tornadoes were rated F3.

According to the long term averages from 1981-2010, 4.85 inches of rain falls in the month.  The most ever observed is 15.25 inches in 1948.  It generally rains on 9.1 days.  Thunderstorms are observed on average on 1.9 November days.  On average, there is no snow.  The most snow ever observed in November was 1.4 inches in 1950.  At the start of the month, the average high is 69 degrees.  It will fall to 60 degrees by month’s end.  The normal monthly high is 64.0F.  In November 1931, the normal high was 72.4F, the warmest November on record.  It has been as warm as 85F, in 1998, 2000 and 2003.

Average lows start off at 46 degrees, and fall to 38 by month’s end. The average low is 41.8F.  The coldest average low was in the cold winter of 1976-77, when the November average low was 33.8F.  In the eleventh month, it has been as cold as 5F, back on November 25, 1950.  The next coldest reading was 8 degrees higher…on November 24, 1970.  The sky is cloudy 33 percent of the time.  The sky is clear 31 percent of the time.  Only October averages more clear sky time in the Magic City.  Dense fog is observed on one day in the month on average.

DECEMBER

By the calendar, winter starts on December 21st, but meteorologically speaking, it begins on December 1st.  Here in Birmingham, we enter our stretch of three coldest months at the beginning of December. December is the second coldest month in Birmingham, with a mean temperature of 46.1 degrees. We start off with an average high of 60F, and that is the last time we will see that until late February. By the end of the month, the average high will be 54F.  The December 1st average low of 39F will drop to 34F by the end of the month. The warmest it has ever been in any December in the Magic City was 80F on December 7, 1951. The coldest it has ever been is 1F twice, on December 13, 1962 and December 23, 1989.

The average rainfall during the month is 4.45 inches. 13.98 inches fell in December 1961, establishing the mark for the most rainfall in any December.  The heaviest rainfall on a single day in any December is 7.70 inches on December 27, 1942.  It normally rains on 10.4 days in the month, with 1 inch or more on 1.4 days.

On average, 0.1 inches of snow falls in December. Eight inches of snow fell in December 1963, the most ever.  All of that fell on New Year’s Eve in one of Birmingham’s most memorable snowfalls.

Average Temperature and Rainfall

Month Avg.
Low
Avg.
High
Daily
Avg.
Rainfall
January 33.0F 51.7F 42.4F 4.97″
February 35.2F 56.6F 45.9F 4.64″
March 42.2F 64.8F 53.5F 6.55″
April 50.5F 75.0F 62.8F 5.30″
May 58.4F 81.7F 70.1F 3.80″
June 66.0F 88.2F 77.1F 3.17″
July 70.0F 90.6F 80.3F 4.19″
August 69.4F 89.8F 79.6F 3.88″
September 64.0F 84.1F 74.1F 4.55″
October 50.6F 73.5F 62.1F 2.77″
November 40.7F 62.3F 51.5F 3.51″
December 35.4F 54.5F 45.0F 4.83″
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