Louisiana has a mainly humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa) with long hot summers and short, mild winters. Louisiana lies in the Deep South region of South Central United States in the vicinity of the Gulf of Mexico. The southern location in the continent often brings a host of storms in spring and summer. Precipitation is ample, with wet and dry seasons in the year. Louisiana shares borders with Arkansas in the north, Mississippi in the east, the Gulf of Mexico in the south, and Texas in the west. The low latitudes and proximity to the Gulf chiefly influence the climate.
Louisiana, the Bayou State, has an average elevation of only 30 meters above sea level. Driskill Mountain has the highest point at 163 meters and New Orleans, the lowest at 2.5 meters below sea level. The state has vast areas of coastal marshes and swamps, wet savannas, and the elevated regions of longleaf pine forest and bald cypress. The Mississippi River forms a large part of the eastern boundary. The geography has two divisions, the uplands in the north, and alluvial swamplands, marshlands, beaches, barrier islands on the coast. The Gulf of Mexico, Red and Ouachita rivers and other minor streams called bayous constitute the main water bodies.
Summers are hot and humid in Louisiana, with frequent afternoon thunderstorms that bring intense tropical downpours. The June to September period has average high temperatures above 90°F (32.2°C), while nights remain below 70°F (21.1°C). The high humidity and dew point make the heat feel like 120°F (48.9°C). Winters are mild in the south with day highs often above 66°F (18.9°C), while the north sees colder days below 59°F (15°C). Nights occasionally register below freezing, with average low temperatures between 37°F (2.8°C) in the north and 46°F (7.8°C) near the Gulf. Cold fronts from the north can push night temperatures below 20°F (-6.7°C) in the north. Spring and autumn are milder than the summer.
The average rainfall in Louisiana ranges from 48" (1219.2mm) in the north to 75" (1905mm) in the south. Rainfall occurs throughout the year, with a predominantly wet season from April to September and the dry season from October to March. October is the driest month, while May is the wettest, with even 20" (508mm) during the month and up to 10" (254mm) in a single day. Snowfall and sleet are rare near the Gulf of Mexico, while the north receives light snow occasionally. The growing season is long and ranges from 220 days in the north to 300 in the south. The annual sunshine lasts for at least 3000 hours in Louisiana, with the coast enjoying the sunshine even in the winter.
Plain Dealing recorded the highest ever temperature of 114°F (45.6°C) on August 10, 1936, in Louisiana, while Minden recorded the coldest temperature of -16°F (-26.7°C) on February 13, 1899.
The best time to visit Louisiana
The best time to visit Louisiana is during the spring months from March to May and the fall season from September to November. Summers tend to be hot and humid in most regions of the state, particularly the south. The shoulder months are mild with comfortable temperatures, but spring is rainy and prone to storms. Autumn is colorful and the best time of the year, with less rain, clear skies, and temperatures in the pleasant range of 60°F (15.6°C) to 80°F (26.7°C). Winters are cold in the northern part of Louisiana, where freezing nights occur routinely at the peak of January.
The worst time to visit Louisiana
The worst time to visit Louisiana is in the summer when the temperatures are hot, and the humidity makes the heat oppressive. The southern parts are prone to torrential rains and thunderstorms. Temperatures often cross the 100°F (37.8°C) mark in the summer, and midday heat is unbearable for many. Tropical cyclones and hurricanes hit the Gulf Coast regularly and move inland during late spring and early summer. Heavy rains result in floods, even though there is a system of levees and floodways to prevent significant damages. There is no shortage of fun activities during the hot season to keep cool, but it is a prudent idea to avoid a visit in summer to Louisiana.
Louisiana experiences thunderstorms, hurricanes, and tropical cyclones during late spring and early summer. Storms often result in water damage to lowland areas near New Orleans, which are below sea level. April and May in the spring season are usually the rainiest months in the majority of the state. Thunderstorms occur for at least 60 days in the year, while an average of 27 tornadoes hit the coast annually. The entire state is vulnerable to tornadoes, especially the southern region. Tornadoes are frequent from January to March and cause severe damage to property and communication lines. Hurricane Katrina made landfall in the southeast in August 2005, and New Orleans faced severe damages with up to 20 feet of water in many places.
Weather in January
January is the coldest month of the year in Louisiana, with freezing nights in the northern portion of the state. The average high temperatures are in the 54°F (12.2°C) to 62°F (16.7°C), while the average low temperatures are in between the 33°F (0.6°C) to 47°F (8.3°C). Boothville on the Gulf Coast is between 47°F (8.3°C) to 62°F (16.7°C), while Monroe in the north averages between 33°F (0.6°C) to 55°F (12.8°C). The daily sunshine lasts for 6 to 7 hours, with snowfall a rarity. Precipitation is in the range of 5" (127mm) to 6" (152.4mm) and is heavier along the coast than the interior. Winter days are short, and the air is crisp. The atmosphere is perfect to taste the various craft beers, meads, and ciders. Dress in light layers as mornings and nights are cold. Temperature swings are rapid, and a sweater in the morning can give way for a tank top in the afternoon. January occasionally sees snowfall in northern Louisiana and can shut down roads due to lack of snow removal measures.
Weather in February
February is mild to cold in the winter of Louisiana, with moderate sunshine and precipitation. The average high temperatures are in the 59°F (15°C) to 66°F (18.9°C) range, while the average low temperatures are between 36°F (2.2°C) to 49°F (9.4°C). Baton Rouge, the capital in Florida Parishes, is relatively warmer between 45°F (7.2°C) to 66°F (18.9°C), than Ruston in the north between 36°F (2.2°C) to 59°F (15°C). The river water is colder than the air temperatures and favors fog formation. Kisatchie National Forest wilderness is one of the largest and most beautiful in the state. Rustic cabins and tents are readily available for rentals in the winter. The conditions are cold enough to sleep cozily with a nice campfire burning outside. The sunshine in winter makes the days gorgeous for shooting pictures outdoors, while the mornings can coat ice on the windshields of cars. Pack layered clothing as the warm days quickly turn cold after sunset. February visitors to Louisiana sometimes see all four seasons in one day.
Weather in March
March is a beautiful month in the spring season in Louisiana, which sees warm weather amid a rise in precipitation. The sunshine is ample, even though a polar air mass reaches the interior of the state and occasionally the south. Temperatures range in the wonderful range of 67°F (19.4°C) to 73°F (22.8°C) during the day, while the nights are between a mild 43°F (6.1°C) to 54°F (12.2°C). Spring rarely sees freezing nights in the south and occasionally in the north. The tourist numbers witness a rise with the advent of the spring season. Forests, hills, and prairies turn green amid the aroma of blooming flowers, and there is plenty of fresh water. The river and ocean water temperatures are cold to mild, but swimming enthusiasts can dabble in them. A light jacket provides comfort from the breezy wild and sudden showers. Trails become lively with wildlife sightings at dawn and dusk. March lies in the season of tornadoes and tropical cyclones in Louisiana, which often make landfall.
Weather in April
April is a wet month in the spring season of Louisiana, with unpredictable weather in its tow. Clear skies quickly give way to dark patches that bring heavy rainfall in brief periods. The average high temperatures are in the 75°F (23.9°C) to 80°F (26.7°C), while the average low temperatures are in the 51°F (10.6°C) to 61°F (16.1°C). Winnfield central Louisiana registers temperatures in the mild 53°F (11.7°C) to warm 77°F (25°C) range. The eight hours of daily sunshine plays host to many activities, including fishing, biking, and kayaking. April nights are moderate at best, and the conditions are suitable for lighting campfires and enjoying the backcountry. Camping is fun in the open country and the forests, but pack rainwear that offers protection from a heavy downpour. Wildflowers bloom in the countryside, and rural roads offer scenic views of nature. Budget travelers take advantage of the temperate conditions in the shoulder season to find discounted accommodations. Brace for thunderstorms during the afternoons in April in Louisiana.
Weather in May
May is the wettest month of the year in Louisiana, with 6" (152.4mm) to 8" (203.2mm) of heavy rainfall. The days are humid and hot as the average temperatures range from 82°F (27.8°C) to 86°F (30°C), while the nights are mild to warm in the 60°F (15.6°C) to 70°F (21.1°C) zone. Ruston in the north averages between 60°F (15.6°C) to 82°F (27.8°C), while New Orleans on the Gulf coast is warmer between 68°F (20°C) to 85°F (29.4°C). The precipitation results in flooding in many places. Blossoming flowers impart a sweet odor to the atmosphere, with the landscape bearing a tinge of green everywhere. Activities like hunting, biking, and fishing gain momentum in the bosom of numerous lakes, rivers, and mountains. Expect the temperatures to rise with the end of spring. May is the last month of moderate weather before the heat becomes oppressive. Storms are active in the entire state, but the southern coast is particularly vulnerable. Keep an open eye on the weather in May in Louisiana for storms.
Weather in June
June is the beginning of the hot and humid summer in Louisiana, with heavy rainfall amid intense sunshine. The average high temperatures are in the hot zone of 87°F (30.6°C) to 91°F (32.8°C), while the average low temperatures stay between 67°F (19.4°C) to 74°F (23.3°C). Hammond in the Florida Parishes registers average temperatures between 69°F (20.6°C) to 90°F (32.2°C). June receives ample rainfall of 5" (127mm) to 8" (203.2mm) in the state, which is heaviest along the coast. Thunderstorms, tornadoes, and hurricanes invade from the Gulf coast and occasionally move inland. An excellent way of relaxing is to float down the calm rivers on a boat. State parks are full of visitors, even in the simmering heat. Mornings and evenings are the best times to visit the beaches. Walk, cycle, or hike in the forests and mountains, with plenty of wildlife sightings. Stick to sweatshirts during the day, but carry an umbrella for protection from the rain. Louisiana is stormy in June, so keep a watch on the weather.
Weather in July
July is the peak of the summer season in Louisiana, with heavy rainfall amid many sunny days. Day temperatures are in the hot 88°F (31.1°C) to 94°F (34.4°C) range, while nights are warm between 70°F (21.1°C) to 77°F (25°C). Mercury readings above 110°F (43.3°C) are rare, yet the summer vacation brings many tourists to the state. Natchitoches in central Louisiana sees scorching heat in the 75°F (23.9°C) to 94°F (34.4°C) range. The 6" (152.4mm) to 8" (203.2mm) of rainfall is mostly a result of thunderstorms that bring heavy showers. Air-conditioners are necessary, with the humidity often above the 80% mark. Hunting and fishing are popular, as is camping in the open during the nights. Charter boats make deep sea fishing easy in the Grand Isle. Mornings are better for swimming as the ocean waters reach a peak of 84°F (28.9°C) in the afternoons. The ultraviolet radiation of the sun reaches dangerous proportions in the blistering heat. Keep an eye on the weather for tropical cyclones in July in Louisiana.
Weather in August
August is hot in the summer of Louisiana, with average high temperatures in the 89°F (31.7°C) to 94°F (34.4°C). Nights tend to be warm between 69°F (20.6°C) to 77°F (25°C) and retain some of the humidity during the day, especially near the southern coastal areas. The central and southern regions are particularly hot, with temperatures occasionally above the 100°F (37.8°C) mark. The long summer days experience scorching sunlight and mandate sunglasses and hats for outdoor explorations. Light summer clothing is usually sufficient, but avoid a midday outing as far as possible. Pick blueberries at the peak of the season, drink ice-cold beer from one of the numerous breweries, or simply paddle down a bayou for relaxation. Rice crop grows abundantly in the flat prairie lands or the southwest with heavy rainfall and ample supply of water. August sees 4" (101.6mm) to 7" (177.8mm) of precipitation in Louisiana, and there is always the risk of a tropical storm lurking on the horizon.
Weather in September
September transitions to the autumn season in Louisiana, with plenty of sunshine amid long days. There is a definite decrease in humidity with each passing day, and the oppressive nature of heat changes to a bearable one. The average high temperatures are in the warm 86°F (30°C) to 89°F (31.7°C) range, while the average low temperatures are in the warm 62°F (16.7°C) to 74°F (23.3°C) range. Lake Providence in the north registers between 62°F (16.7°C) to 74°F (23.3°C), while Alexandria in the central region is between 62°F (16.7°C) to 74°F (23.3°C). The precipitation is on the wane as the beginning of the autumn season marks the last month of the wet season. Thunderstorms and cyclones occur in September, which is the most active month of tropical weather. Food festivals take place everywhere, with the abundant supply of apples, pumpkins, and corn, among other produce. Scenic byways make driving enjoyable, and lakeside forests offer serene relaxation in the balmy weather. September sees a gradual drop in temperatures with each passing day in Louisiana.
Weather in October
October is the driest month of the year and lies in the heart of the beautiful autumn season in Louisiana. The temperatures are mild to warm in the average range of 51°F (10.6°C) to 81°F (27.2°C), with a daily 8 hours of glorious sunshine. Nights are comfortable with average low temperatures in the 51°F (10.6°C) to 62°F (16.7°C) range. Houma on the coast registers between a mild 61°F (16.1°C) to warm 81°F (27.2°C). The mild ocean water temperatures make the beaches attractive destinations. Louisiana receives up of 4" (101.6mm) of rain even in the driest month of the dry season. October is colorful, with the foliage at its peak in the entire state. Maples and aspens display colorful shades of orange, gold, red, and purple. Flip-flops and shorts are wearable during the day and even in the evenings. The harvest season is at its peak, and the farmers' markets are full of fresh produce. The beautiful autumn weather makes October the best time to visit Louisiana.
Weather in November
November is colorful in Louisiana as the autumn season is in the final stages. The weather is comfortable, with the average high temperatures in the 66°F (18.9°C) to 72°F (22.2°C) and nights in the mild 42°F (5.6°C) to 52°F (11.1°C) range. The skies remain clear for a major portion of the day, and the air smells fresh due to the low level of humidity. Slidell Shreveport in the north averages between 45°F (7.2°C) to 68°F (20°C), while Slidell in the Florida Parishes is between 50°F (10°C) to 61°F (16.1°C). Rainfall is in the range of 4" (101.6mm) to 5" (127mm) statewide. A light jacket provides comfort in the windy evenings. The fall foliage retains its peak until mid-November, and the weather is suitable for long scenic drives along the roads. Warm weather activities are possible even in the late fall season. Golfing is popular as during the rest of the year, but the water is cold for swimming. November is an ideal time to visit Louisiana with pleasant conditions and less rain.
Weather in December
December is the beginning of the mild to the cold winter season in Louisiana with partly cloudy skies. The southern location of the state in the continent and proximity to the Gulf of Mexico keep the days warm in the 57°F (13.9°C) to 65°F (18.3°C) range. Nights are cold and occasionally below freezing, with the average lows in the 35°F (1.7°C) to 50°F (10°C) zone. Precipitation is on the wane in the dry season, and snowfall is rare. The ocean waters are cold in the 53°F (11.7°C) to 58°F (14.4°C) range, while cold river waters result in foggy mornings. Wildlife includes deer, rabbits, and beavers, with numerous whitetail deer in the rural areas of the north. Enthusiasts trade fishing poles for hunting guns, as the abundant pine and hardwood forests see large deer herds. The Bald Eagle Nest Trail at south Toledo Bend State Park sees visitors even in winter. Large indoor ice skating rinks compensate for the low amount of snow. December lies in the vacation calendar of budget travelers to Louisiana. [Resources]
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