Mississippi has a mainly humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa) with shades of an oceanic type (Köppen Cfb) in its extreme northeast. Summers are warm and humid, while the short winters are mild to cold. Mississippi lies in the southeastern corner of the United States. Alabama in the east, the Gulf of Mexico in the south, Louisiana in the southwest, Arkansas in the northwest, and Tennessee in the north, share borders with the state. The proximity to the Gulf of Mexico, subtropical latitudes, and the landmass to the north mainly influence the climate.
Mississippi, The Magnolia State, has an average elevation of 90 meters above sea level, with the highest point at 246 meters on Woodall Mountain. The topography chiefly consists of lowland plains and low hills as the state lies within the Gulf coastal plain. There are ten physiographic divisions in the state, with associated vegetation and hydrology. The Mississippi Delta lies in the northwest in the alluvial plain. The Mississippi Sound forms the southern boundary of the state, while the Mississippi River defines the western boundary. Barrier islands run parallel to the shore for a few miles. The Bermuda High dictates an entire season occasionally.
Summers are hot and humid in Mississippi. May to September is generally uncomfortable with the high amount of humidity, hot days and nights, and dew point above 70°F (21.1°C). Polar and subtropical jet streams subject the state to frontal passages of cold continental and warm tropical air in the cold season. Cold spells rarely last over four days, and the ground occasionally freezes only in the north. Arctic cold brings bitter cold in the form of The Siberian Express occasionally. January average low temperatures at the peak of the winter drop to 27°F (-2.8°C) in the north. Temperatures below freezing register for less than ten days along the coast. Spring is cool to warm, while autumn is the driest season of the year, with the most pleasant temperatures.
The average annual rainfall of 56" (1422.4mm) makes Mississippi makes one of the wettest states in the union. Maximum precipitation in the north and west occurs in the winter, while the maximum summer rainfall is along the coast. The driest period of the year yields 8" (203.2mm) to 13" (330.2mm) of rain from September to November in the fall season that is favorable for the harvesting of crops. Snowfall is in measurable amounts as is sleet during the winter, with the northern region receiving the highest amount. The average annual sunshine lasts for 2756 hours in Mississippi, with the growing season lasting for more than 200 days in much of the state.
Holly Springs recorded the highest temperature of 115°F (46.1°C) in Mississippi, in 1930, while Corinth in the northeast recorded the lowest temperature of -19°F (-28.3°C) in 1966.
The best time to visit Mississippi
The best time to visit Mississippi is during the autumn from mid-September to November. The weather is mild and sunny, with pleasant breezes in the evening, and mostly clear skies. Fall is the driest period of the year, and the enrichment of colors adds to the beauty of the landscape. The conditions are calm with the end of the storm season with beautiful mornings and pleasant evenings. The coast is a popular destination, but the weather is ideal for hiking the mountain trails as well. The northern hills areas tend to be the coolest parts of the state.
The worst time to visit Mississippi
The worst time to visit Mississippi is from June to August during the summer. The high humidity exacerbates the heat, and the conditions become oppressive to people from the cold regions. Summer also receives heavy rainfall and frequent thunderstorms. The southern region often sees temperatures above 100°F (37.8°C) at the peak of the hot season. Tropical cyclones often cause havoc along the coast while intruding from the Gulf of Mexico. Storms are frequent and last well until the end of summer. Afternoon thunderstorms produce up to 25% of the annual precipitation in the state.
Mississippi is vulnerable to thunderstorms, floods, droughts, tornadoes, and tropical cyclones. Afternoon thunderstorms are frequent in the spring and summer and bring heavy rainfall. Tropical cyclones bring heavy rain during mid to late summer. High tides and high winds result in extensive damage during the storms along with rain, especially in the coastal areas. The extended rainy spells cause local overflows in rivers and streams. Floods have the highest frequency in March and April during the season from November and June. Drought conditions can last for weeks or months due to an active Bermuda High in the summer. Hurricane Katrina made landfall with winds above 140mph (225.3km/h) on August 29, 2005. Tornadoes occur in all seasons, while thunderstorms register for 60 to 80 days during the year. Ice storms occur sporadically in the northern half.
Weather in January
January is the coldest month of the year in Mississippi, with freezing nights in the north. The temperatures are significantly warmer along the coast compared to the northern hilly areas. The average high temperatures are between 49°F (9.4°C) to 62°F (16.7°C), while the average low temperatures are between 27°F (-2.8°C) to 43°F (6.1°C). Holly Springs in the north registers temperatures in the 27°F (-2.8°C) to 50°F (10°C), while Picayune on the Gulf coast has eight to ten sunny days in the month and temperatures between 38°F (3.3°C) to 62°F (16.7°C). Precipitation is between 4" (101.6mm) to 7" (177.8mm), with measurable quantities of snow in the north. The Gulf Coast is a popular destination in the state when the rest of the country is in the grip of severe cold. Jackets and sweaters keep the body warm during the cold nights in the south, while layered clothing is better in the north. Cold fronts occasionally occur in the state but rarely last for extended periods. The mild Mississippi weather is ideal for celebrating the New Year in January.
Weather in February
February is partly cloudy in Mississippi, with 4" (101.6mm) to 6" (152.4mm) of rainfall amid 6 hours of sunshine. The conditions are mild in much of the state, with the average temperatures in the 30°F (-1.1°C) to 65°F (18.3°C) range. Jackson, the capital in the central region, sees occasional freezing nights as it registers between 39°F (3.9°C) to 61°F (16.1°C). Cabin rentals are popular in the prime hunting season, with spectacular mountain views. The beaches attract many visitors, but the water temperatures are cold for swimming. The conditions warm up steadily by the fourth week of February so sit by a cozy fireplace and enjoy a mug of hot cocoa before the end of the cold season. The oyster season is at its peak during the cold months, and it is one of the best times to enjoy the plump Gulf oysters with a natural salty flavor. Ice skating rinks are in demand in the winter months as natural snowfall is scarce. February ends the winter season in Mississippi.
Weather in March
March brings a transition from cold to warm weather with the arrival of the spring season in Mississippi. Ten to twelve rainy days bring 4" (101.6mm) to 7" (177.8mm) of rain in the majority of the state. Snowfall is rare even in spring, and the melting of existing snow in the mountains is a reason for local flooding along with the heavy rainfall. The bright sunshine descends over the valleys and the plains with equal intensity and lasts for 7 hours a day. The average high temperatures are between a 63°F (17.2°C) and 72°F (22.2°C), with McComb in the south in the 47°F (8.3°C) to 70°F (21.1°C) zone. The average low temperatures lie in the cold 39°F (3.9°C) to mild 52°F (11.1°C), with Tupelo in the north in the 43°F (6.1°C) to 66°F (18.9°C) range. Early spring is the time of blooming dogwood flowers, and the sounds of wild birds and animals fill the natural environment. The arrival of the spring season charges the atmosphere in March in Mississippi.
Weather in April
April is beautiful in the heart of the spring season in Mississippi, with plenty of sunshine and significant rainfall. The precipitation lasts for 8 to 10 days in the month and is usually in the 4" (101.6mm) to 5" (127mm) range. The average temperatures are in the mild 45°F (7.2°C) to warm 77°F (25°C) zone, as the coast sees many visitors. The mild waters are suitable for swimming, and the beaches see competition for a place under the moderate sun. Lakes and streams gather freshwater, and the sound of waterfalls is deafening. The landscape is green, with flowers blooming everywhere. Thunderstorms can be severe, and lightning strikes are a constant threat to the open prairie. A light jacket is enough for protection from unexpected showers. Cabins and hunting lodges are full in the spring, with the hunting season gaining momentum. Expect temperatures to warm up steadily and fewer cold spells. Keep an eye on the weather for afternoon storms in April in Mississippi.
Weather in May
May is sunny in the spring season in Mississippi, with at least 8 hours of sunshine every day. However, the highest frequency of afternoon storms occurs during the peak of spring that also brings heavy showers. The average daily highs are in the warm 80°F (26.7°C) to 85°F (29.4°C) range, while the nights are comfortable in the 59°F (15°C) to 68°F (20°C) zone. Many wildlife management areas open for hunting turkeys and other permitted birds and animals. Spring break sees a beeline of visitors in the state and national parks. Freshly produced farm goods are up for grabs at farmers' markets. The latter half of the spring tends to be wet, with an increase in the frequency of storms on the Gulf Coast. Fishing and boating is a wonderful relaxation in the refreshing waters of the mild season. Light summer clothing is suitable during the day. The heat and humidity rise to bothersome levels by the end of May in Mississippi.
Weather in June
June is the beginning of the hot and humid summer in Mississippi with long and sunny days. Day temperatures soar between the hot zone of 87°F (30.6°C) and 90°F (32.2°C), while nights are warm between 63°F (17.2°C) to 72°F (22.2°C). The precipitation is on the rise, and the Gulf coast receives the highest rainfall of 7" (177.8mm) compared to 4" (101.6mm) in the north. Early June is a continuation of spring weather, but the humidity rises sharply by the second half of the month. The waters of Mississippi Sound moderate the temperatures in the surrounding areas, which have significantly less number of days above 90°F (32.2°C). Mornings and evenings are ideal beach timings as afternoons are hot and prone to thunderstorms. Do not forget to wear sunglasses and sunscreen while on the beaches. The northern hills offer cooler temperatures than the rest of the state and see many visitors. Thankfully, air-conditioners are a rule everywhere than an exception. Be alert for tropical storms and tornadoes in June in Mississippi.
Weather in July
July is peak summer in Mississippi, with the average high temperatures between 89°F (31.7°C) to 92°F (33.3°C). The heat becomes unbearable, mostly because of the oppressive rise in humidity. Nights are relenting than the days but are still warm in the 63°F (17.2°C) to 74°F (23.3°C) zone. Jackson and Greenwood in the central region register temperatures in the range of 71°F (21.7°C) to 92°F (33.3°C) at the height of summer. The 9 hours of daily sunshine is unrelenting, and afternoons routinely see thunderstorms. Midsummer brings heavy rainfall along the coast, and tropical cyclones are on the rise. Temperatures often rise above 100°F (37.8°C) in many regions, and heat waves frequently invade the state. People usually wear sweatshirts and shorts in hot and humid conditions, and there is rarely an establishment without an air-conditioner. Zoos and museums are busy due to summer vacations, but the long daylight hours offer ample time to explore them. A Mississippi visit is avoidable in July at the peak of the hot season.
Weather in August
August is hot and humid in the summer of Mississippi, with ample rainfall of 6" (152.4mm) to 8" (203.2mm) along the coast. The average temperatures are in the hot 89°F (31.7°C) to 92°F (33.3°C) range, while nights are in the 65°F (18.3°C) to 75°F (23.9°C) range. Thunderstorms are frequent, but tornadoes and hurricanes also invade from the south. The heat index is at its peak and induces much perspiration like that while taking a steam bath. The rivers and lakes are ideal grounds for fishing, particularly largemouth bass, which is abundant in the streams. Umbrellas and jackets are generally unnecessary for those who do not mind the wetness from a few showers. If on the coast, visit the beaches in the morning and evening. The interior areas are much warmer than the coast and the hilly regions. Keep hydrated when exploring any of the wildlife management areas during a summer day. Avoid a visit to Mississippi in August as far as possible.
Weather in September
September is the beginning of the beautiful autumn season of Mississippi, with the day temperatures still in the hot range of 84°F (28.9°C) to 88°F (31.1°C). Nights tend to be more comfortable in the zone of 63°F (17.2°C) to 71°F (21.7°C). The precipitation decreases in the fall season, but Mississippi is never truly dry. The bright sunshine lasts up to a daily 8 hours, but the fall colors are not yet evident in the majority of the state. The water temperatures in the Gulf are favorable for swimming as well as other activities. September is the season of apples, pumpkin patches, and corn mazes. The precipitation registers between 4" (101.6mm) to 5" (127mm) statewide, with 8 to 10 wet days in the month. Thunderstorms usually decline by late September, and wind speeds are moderate at best. However, the possibility of a tornado invading the coast from the south is real. Each passing day in September makes the conditions more pleasant in Mississippi.
Weather in October
October is the period of peak foliage in Mississippi, with comfortable temperatures and pleasant conditions. The driest month of the year is also the calmest with the decline in storm activity. The landscape attains brilliant hues of orange, red, yellow, and purple. The average temperatures are between a mild 45°F (7.2°C) to warm 80°F (26.7°C), with refreshing mornings and breezy evenings. Gulfport in the coastal area is between 60°F (15.6°C) to 79°F (26.1°C), while Hattiesburg in the south is in the 56°F (13.3°C) to 78°F (25.6°C) range. There is no shortage of sunshine during the peak of autumn, with the sunlight lasting at least 8 hours a day. Fall offers ideal weather to explore the state forests and camp in the night under the starlit sky. Stargazing the clear skies of autumn, with a crackling campfire and dear ones for company, is a dream come true for many. The harvest season is in earnest and brings plenty of produce to the farm stands and markets. October is an ideal time to visit Mississippi.
Weather in November
November days are lovely in Mississippi, with average temperatures in the 63°F (17.2°C) to 72°F (22.2°C) range. However, the nights become colder by the second half of the month and trend in the 37°F (2.8°C) to 52°F (11.1°C) zone. Pascagoula on the Gulf coast is between 47°F (8.3°C) to 70°F (21.1°C), while Grenada further up registers between 40°F (4.4°C) to 65°F (18.3°C). The beautiful fall foliage is still at its peak, and a great place to experience it is the Natchez Trace Parkway. Hiking trails, scenery, and canoeing add to the thrill, and rustic cabins offer comfort in the evening. The sunlight lasts for more than 6 hours, which is enough to explore the beauty of nature. A jacket is not necessary against the moderate rain in November but provides warmth during the evening. Full moon hikes are exciting in the late fall season with the crisp air of the night. November is an excellent time to visit Mississippi with the setting of the cold season in the American North.
Weather in December
December is mild to cold at the start of the winter season in Mississippi, with average temperatures in the 29°F (-1.7°C) to 64°F (17.8°C) range. The conditions are comfortable during the day, with 6 hours of adequate sunlight and temperatures in the 53°F (11.7°C) to 64°F (17.8°C) zone. However, nights are freezing in the northern hilly areas for extended periods. The precipitation is ample to the tune of 5" (127mm) to 7" (177.8mm) in much of the state. Snow and sleet are rare along the Gulf coast, which finds many visitors in the winter. The northern region sees light snowfall, but tourists discover artificial snow and ice more than natural. Mississippi provides a welcome escape from snow shoveling and scraping ice from windows in the cold season. A jacket, however, makes the day comfortable by keeping the cold and rain in check. Expect a further drop in temperatures to drop with the advent of the winter season. The conditions are bearable in December in Mississippi for those who wish to escape the frigid winters of North America.