Climate

We thought: “put up a page on climate – folk will love it”… and started amassing information – the range of  variables ‘in state’ alone almost warranted another web. Below is a synopsis of general patterns. We left out the extremes… when you go, of course, it’ll be different!

USA:

Texas: the large size/location at the intersection of multiple climate zones gives highly variable weather. Panhandle has colder winters than North Texas, while the Gulf Coast has mild winters. Texas has wide variations in precipitation patterns. El Paso on the western end averages as little as 8 inches of annual rainfall while Houston, in the southeast averages as much as 54 inches per year. Maximum temps in summer months average from 80s °F (26 °C) in mountains of West Texas and Galveston Island to around 100 °F (38 °C) in the Rio Grande Valley, but most see consistent summer highs in the 90 °F (32 °C) range. Night time registers run from the 50’s in the mountains, to the 80’s in Galveston.

New Mexico: climate is arid to semiarid and the state experiences a range of temperatures across its different regions. Summer months from May to October are warmest/wettest with about 30 to 40 percent of annual rainfall falling in August, during brief thunderstorms. July, usually the hottest month, temperatures can range from about 78°F (26°C) at higher altitudes to 92°F (33°C) at lower altitudes. January temperatures range from 55°F (13°C) in central and southern valleys to 35°F (2°C) at higher elevations in the north. In the Gila daily temperatures during may reach 90 -100F (32-38 C) in lower elevations (below 6500 ft.) and may drop to 60F (16 C) at night. Above 6,500 ft temps peak at 70 to 80 F (21-27 C) during the day and cool to 45 F (7 C). Frost may occur during the night in canyons above 8,000 ft. From July to September, thunderstorms are widespread and occur almost daily.

Arizona: due to its large area and variations in elevation, the state has a wide variety of localized conditions. In lower elevations, climate is primarily desert, with mild winters and hot summers. From late fall to early spring, weather is mild averaging a minimum of 60 °F (16 °C). Midway through February temperatures start to rise with warm days and cool breezy nights. June through September bring a dry heat ranging from 90–128 °F (32–53 °C), with occasional high temperatures exceeding 128 °F (53 °C) in the desert area. Altitude will have a bearing on extremes, cooler in the forests with more likelihood of precipitation.

Colorado: climate is quite complex compared to most of the United States. Most of Colorado state is made up of mountains, foothills, high plains and desert lands. Southwest and southern Colorado are a complex mixture of desert and mountain areas. Mountains have cool summers with many high temperatures around 60 °F (16 °C) to 70 °F (21 °C), although frequent thunderstorms can cause sudden drops in temperature. Summer nights are cool or even cold at the highest elevations, which sometimes get snow even in the middle of the summer.

Tri-State: factor the north-eastern corner of Utah, south-western strip of Wyoming and north-western corner of Colorado… northwest and west Colorado are predominantly mountainous, with some desert lands mixed in, but the valley enjoys a temperate climate. Maybell just east of the park holds the record for coldest temperature recorded in state  at -52 C. Straddling the Green River, Brown’s Park is shielded on the southwest by the low mountains of the Uintas, which helps create a mild climate, with less than 10 inches of annual precipitation. As a sanctuary amidst very harsh territory, it’s easy to imagine outlaws grinning broadly because of Brown Park’s shelter from both law and nature.

Wyoming: is generally semi-arid… drier and windier in comparison to most of the U.S. with greater extremes. Summers are warm with July highs averaging 85 °F (29 °C) – 95 °F (35 °C) in most of the state. Summer nights are characterized by a rapid cooldown with hottest locations averaging 50–60 °F (10–16 °C). Most precipitation tends to fall late spring and early summer. Winters are cold, but variable, with Chinook winds providing warm temps in some locations. Much of the land receives less than 10 inches of rainfall per year. Precipitation depends on elevation with lower areas in the Big Horn Basin averaging 5–8 inches making the area nearly a true desert.

MEXICO:

Chihuahua State: natural regions are plateau and mountains. Climate is dry to semi-arid although there is regular rainfall, there are five zones. Desert is most common at elevations below 4,000 ft above sea level and tends to have a hot summer at temperatures reaching 110 °F. Winter is warm, rarely dropping below 32°F. Precipitation averages between 6-10 in per year; most of the moisture falls during the “monsoon” of late summer. Average annual temperature is 20°c (68°f). Annual rainfall ranges from 221 millimeters (8.7 inches) to 1,023 millimeters (40.3 inches). Chihuahuan Desert is the easternmost, southernmost and largest North American desert, about 175,000 square miles – bigger than California. One important characteristic is the many small mountain ranges which run through it. Between are valleys of lower elevation formed by the Rio Grande and Pecos rivers, creating large riparian areas. Presence of these produce a variety of habitats where diverse plants and animals can live within its boundaries.

BOLIVIA:

Dept. of Potosi: Bolivia is a land of sharp contrast with climatic conditions ranging from arctic to tropical. Divided into three distinct eco-zones: altiplano, intermediary valley region and eastern tropical flat lowlands that make up 70 percent of the country. The Cordillera climate varies dramatically and is affected greatly by altitude and precipitation. The average annual temperature in La Paz, at 12, 200 feet, is about 8°C, while in the city of Trinidad in the Bolivian lowlands is about 26°C. The hot and humid season is summer November-March, winter months April-October are dry and cold. Best is the fresh dry period April-October. Temperatures are mild during the day and vary between 17°C and 27°C – nights are cool.

PERU:

This is a trip of great contrasts. In the high altitude it can get very chilly, even into the 30’s at night and then zoom into the 70’s during the day. In the cloud forest, temperatures rise into the 80’s. Although the dry season normally persists April through November, it can rain (or snow at high altitudes) at any time. Machu Picchu has a semi-tropical climate, with an altitude of 7, 900 ft, with warm and humid days and cold nights. Highest point along the Inca Trail is 13, 850 ft. Rainy season is November-March, wet months are January-April when roads are often closed by landslides or flooding. Best months for visiting are April-October.

ARGENTINA:

Rio Negro Province, Patagonia: climates vary widely. Bariloche has a cool temperate climate with dry, windy summers and rainy winters. Summer season (mid-December-early March) is characterized by long stretches of windy, sunny weather, with pleasant afternoons (18°C to 26°C) and cold nights (2°C to 9°C). Fall brings colder temperatures in March, then stormier weather in April and May. Spring is very windy and variable; temperatures may reach 25°C in October then plummet to -6°C following a late-season snowfall. Several geographic features have an impact on the weather, creating several micro-climates.

Chubut Province, Patagonia: Chubut stretches from the Atlantic to Andes: the coast is marked by high cliffs and sandy beaches, the centre consists of several plateaus and depressions. The Andes are not very high with most peaks between 5,000- 6,600 t. The plateaus are considerably more extreme weatherwise. Temperatures are warm during summer days, with the same range as in the coast and cooler nights below 10ºC. As fall approaches night frost becomes the rule and winters can sometimes be quite severe. Depending on elevation, daytime highs range from 3ºC (37F) to 9ºC (48F), while night-time lows go from -1ºC (30F) to as low as -6ºC (21F), with severe wind chill. Snow is common, but in low quantities due to aridity.

CHILE:

Patagonia: the west coast which belongs exclusively to Chile, has a cool oceanic climate with summer temperatures ranging from 14°C in the south to 19°C in the north (nights between 5°C and 11°C) and very high precipitation, from 2,000 to more than 7,000 mm in local micro-climates. Immediately east are the Andes, cut by deep fjords in the south and by deep lakes in the north and with varying temperatures according to altitude. Precipitation changes dramatically from one spot to the other and diminishes very quickly eastward. Easterly slopes are milder in the summer between 16°C and 20°C. Daytime highs range from 3°C to 9°C in the north, and from 0°C to 7°C in the south, whereas nights range from -5°C to 2°C everywhere.