How to Survive Hotlanta: Layers – An Atlantan’s Best Friend

By Kelly Falcone, MPH’23 in Environmental Health-Epidemiology

I, a New Yorker, heard from family and friends about how great Southern weather is prior to moving to South Carolina for my undergrad experience. I envisioned perfect weather year-round and I didn’t pack a winter jacket. Much to my surprise, I was misinformed – the South DOES have winter. Granted, it is shorter, but I don’t want you to have the same heartbreaking experience I did, which is why I’m here to give you the low down on Atlanta weather.

First things first: you should ALWAYS keep an umbrella in your car or backpack. The rain is truly unpredictable. Did you know that it rains more in Atlanta than Seattle? Neither did I. Learning that fun fact really rained on my parade. But don’t fret! The walk from the parking lot and bus stop to Rollins is very short, so as long as you’ve got an umbrella or raincoat and some waterproof shoes, you’ll stay dry. 

Honestly, sometimes a random rain shower is a true gift, because boy does it get hot in the summer. What you’ve heard about the heat and humidity is true, and you’ll want to make sure you stay hydrated during the summer months. Fortunately, there are plenty of water bottle filling stations at Rollins, just be sure to bring your reusable water bottle. Also, there are some shady spots in the courtyard where you can sit and work or chat with friends while enjoying the warm weather. If sitting outside in the summer isn’t your thing, there are plenty of study and social spaces inside Rollins, where it is well air conditioned. 

Now this is where layers come in. When it’s 90º outside in August, the buildings are kept pretty cool. It can get chilly in the classrooms, especially when you’re dressed for summer weather. In order to get the best of both worlds, I recommend packing a sweater or light jacket in your bag so you’re prepared for the drastic temperature change. Pro tip: You can reserve a locker at the beginning of the semester and keep a sweatshirt in there, in case of emergency. 

The warm weather extends until about the middle of October, and that’s when I break out my sweaters and boots. Late fall and winter can get pretty cold (I’m talking 30ºs and 40ºs). I grew up in a colder climate, and I still think the winters in Atlanta are pretty cold. Some are unphased by Atlanta’s winter (one of my friends, a Chicagoan, wears open toed shoes through December), while others are surprised at how cold it truly can get (I fall into this category). In my opinion, it’s better to be safe than sorry, which is why I recommend wearing layers to stay warm. Fortunately, snow is pretty rare in Atlanta, so no need for snow boots.

Without a doubt the weirdest weather patterns are in early spring. There can be a 30º swing in one day. When I wake up in the morning and see it’ll be 40º at 9am but 70º by 1pm, I spend a good chunk of my morning routine debating what to wear. The answer is always layers. You can dress for the cold in the morning and as the temperature climbs remove layers. There is no better compromise then layers.

At the end of the day, the weather in Atlanta is nice. You get to experience all four seasons, winter is shorter, and there’s plenty of outdoor spaces around campus to enjoy the warm weather. The best advice I can give to you about preparing for Atlanta weather is to pack layers. Seriously, layers are an Atlantan’s best friend! 

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