%> Nevada Riches: The Land and People of the Silver State
The Landscape
Contemporary Nevada

Modern climate

In contemporary times Nevada's climate is semi-arid. Very little rain falls on the high deserts throughout the state. Nevada is a very large state, and the amount of rain can differ widely in specific regions of the state. The Sierra Nevada, in the western part of the state, receive as much as 24 inches of precipitation per year. Other dry areas, such as the Carson Sink, receive as little as 4 inches per year. In northern and central Nevada the average amount of precipitation, usually in the form of rain or snow is 7 to 10 inches. In southern Nevada, the average precipitation is less than 5 inches per year.

Water is a valuable resource in Nevada. In some years the state has drought, when water is even more scarce than usual. The farmers and ranchers face problems earning a living when there are water shortages. As the population of the state grows, water is becoming an important issue for legislators, city planners, land developers, and the people of Nevada.

Nevada is very hot as well as dry. This cat, possibly one of the first domestic cats in Nevada, dried up after it died and was mummified in the Nevada climate. Temperatures vary widely throughout the state. The mean temperature is 50 degrees Fahrenheit. The high temperature in the summer can reach 100 degrees or higher. But the southern section of the state is generally warmer than the north. It doesn't snow there very often. Early Las Vegas residents talked for years about the twelve inches of snow that fell on the city just days before Christmas in 1909. The mean temperature, however, is 60 degrees Fahrenheit, and summer temperatures can climb to 110 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.

The temperature, of course, can vary from the average or the mean. The record low temperature in Nevada was -50 degrees Fahrenheit. That cold spell happened in San Jacinto, in Elko County, on January 8, 1937. The highest temperature, 125 degrees Fahrenheit, was recorded in Laughlin, in Clark County, on June 29, 1994.

Photo Credits:
1: Nevada Department of Transportation, Nevada Commission on Tourism
2: Nevada Department of Transportation
3: Nevada State Museums