Climate & Weather in the United States of America

Climate & Weather in the United States of America

Depending on the source, the United States of America is the 3rd or 4th largest country (by landmass) in the world. As a result, it comes as no surprise that there are a variety of different types of climate in this nation, due to its geographic features, large size, and its arrangement which is non-contiguous. Even on the US mainland itself, you can find a variety of different climates ranging from arid to tropical to alpine. In addition, some parts of the country are famous for its extreme weather conditions which can cause natural disasters such as tornadoes.

There are 9 different climatic regions in the USA. However, even in individual states there are a variety of climatic areas. For example, in Washington State there are actually 3 different climates and they are the Marine West-coast climate (also known as Oceanic), Highland/Alpine climate, and the Semi-arid steppe climate. In terms of the contiguous USA, east of the 100th meridian, the weather ranges from north to south as humid continental to humid sub-tropical, respectively. However, Florida's southernmost tip is tropical.

West of the 100th meridian are the Great Plains which are semi-arid. The Great Basin is arid. However, much of the Cascade Range, Sierra Nevada, and the Rocky Mountains are actually alpine. The Mediterranean-style weather on the Californian coast is world-famous. As for the non-contiguous parts of the USA, Alaska is mostly subarctic although it is polar in the north and oceanic in the south. In Hawaii, the weather is tropical.

In terms of extreme weather, hurricanes and tornadoes run through the USA. Hurricanes are not uncommon in the states that share its border with the Gulf of Mexico such as Louisiana, Florida, Texas, and Alabama. They can also hit Hawaii. In more recent history, Hurricane Katrina dealt a heavy blow especially to Louisiana. This hurricane is in the top 5 list of deadliest hurricanes in US History and the 6th strongest around the Atlantic Ocean region. It is also the most costly natural disaster that the USA has ever faced.

As for tornadoes, the Midwest is famous for 'Tornado Alley'. This area sprung to even greater worldwide fame after the 1996 hit flick, Twister. It is no surprise at the amount of tornadoes the USA has is actually more than the combination of tornadoes around the world per year.

As there is a wide variety of climatic regions, this means that each state has its own best times of when to visit and when not to visit. Here is a guide to what you can expect in these select popular tourist areas:

Alaska

Although the permanent image in people's minds when they think of Alaska is a cold and chilly climate, it is not altogether true that it is freezing all year round. June to August are the best times to visit as it can be warm with fine weather and lots of daylight. Winter is the worst time to go as there is little to no sunlight. However, this makes for a great time to check out nature's splendour via the Aurora Borealis phenomena and cheap hotel prices.

Arizona

The best time to visit Arizona is the spring as there are plenty of festivals. Spring and fall are the best if visiting the Grand Canyon is part of your travel plans. Winter is also a popular season as winters are sunny and mild. The worst time to visit is in the summer as it is extremely hot and humid.

California

This state is great to visit all year round. Most tourists will stay on the coast will get to enjoy the beautiful Mediterranean weather. However further inland, it can be quite cold especially in Death Valley. It also snows in the winter time in Lake Tahoe and Mammoth Lakes.

Climate & Weather in the United States of America

Colorado

November to March is the ski season although it can run up to May and sometimes even up to June. Summer is popular and so is fall. Spring is the worst time to go, especially during late March – May as this is called the “Mud Season”.

Connecticut

The best time to go to Connecticut is late spring, late summer, or early fall. Fall is especially popular due to the beautiful “Indian Summer” foliage. The worst time to go is July and August as it is quite hot and humid. Winter is also awful to visit in unless you like extremely cold weather.

Hawaii

This island state is great to visit all-year round. The only things to look out for are potential hurricanes and that the main island does have some major precipitation.

Las Vegas

If you want to experience the crowds and the glamour of Las Vegas, then visit from March to May and October as this is the high season. Other than this, Las Vegas has hot summers and cold winters although most people will generally spend their time in Las Vegas indoors in an air-conditioned room. Spring and autumn are quite nice as it is sunny and humidity is low.

New York

The best time to visit, weather-wise, is April to June or September and October. Although July and August is hot and humid, this is actually when most people visit New York.

Washington, D.C.

The summer in Washington is very uncomfortable as it is hot and humid. However, this is the best time to visit as there will not be many crowds when Congress takes a summer vacation. The best time to visit is May and June.