Nevada’s climate

The Sierra Nevada wring moisture from winter storms that develop over the Pacific and travel west with the jet stream, while the Rocky Mountains shield the state from any moisture moving up fro the Gulf of Mexico. The dry air over the state contributes to extreme temperatures. Summers are hot, particularly in the southern part of the state, while winters can be cold.

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Outline of the state of Nevada with a cloud. Image text says, "10.3" per year. Nevada is the driest state in the US."
Nevada’s annual average precipitation was 10.3″ between 1901 and 2000.
Outline of the state of Nevada with a cloud. Image text says, "10.3" per year. Nevada is the driest state in the US."
Nevada’s average summer (June – August) high temperature was 84.6°F, and the state’s average low winter temperature was 52.7°F.
Outline of the state of Nevada with a thermomenter. Image text says, "Average high temperature in winter: 42.8F. Average low temperature in winter: 20.7F"
Nevada’s average winter (December – February) high temperature was 42.8°F, and the state’s average low winter temperature was 20.7°F.

Annual averages for the 20th century (1901 – 2000) are from NCEI Climate at a Glance.

In the southern part of the state, average high temperatures range from the 50s in the winter to nearly 100°F in July and August. Those are monthly averages. Daily high temperatures can be higher, like the state record high temperature of 125°F. In contrast, winter high temperatures in northeast Nevada are barely above freezing and reach only to the mid-80s.

Average monthly high temperature in each of Nevada's four climate divisions.
Averages are calculated over the 20th century (1901 – 2000). Data from NCEI Climate at a Glance.

Nightime lows in much of the state are, on average, below freezing from October through April. In the spring and fall, particularly, nighttime lows average near freezing while highs average in the 60s or 70s. For all we think of southern Nevada as a hot desert, average low temperatures are in the 30s from December through February. But by summer, nighttime temperature averages only drop into the low 70s.

Average monthly low temperature in each of Nevada's four climate divisions.
Averages are calculated over the 20th century (1901 – 2000). Data from NCEI Climate at a Glance.

Average annual precipitation state-wide may be 10.3″, but it is lower in southern Nevada — only 7.1″ — and higher in northeastern Nevada, averaging 12.85″. Beyond the difference in the amount of rain and snow, there are differences in when, during the year, precipitation arrives. In southern Nevada, the summer is relatively wet, but in northern Nevada, the summer is dry.

Plot showing the average monthly precipitaiton in each of Nevada's four climate divisions.
Averages are calculated over the 20th century (1901 – 2000). Data from NCEI Climate at a Glance.