Las Vegas Weather

Arid & Mild

Las Vegas is situated slap bang in the middle of the one of the largest and most physically challenging deserts in the US, the stunningly beautiful Mojave Desert. Names like Death Valley and spectres of the Grand Canyon will give visitors a pretty good idea of what they have in store for them as far as topography and climate go.

The city itself is situated in a large, arid basin surrounded by spectacular mountains which range in colour from red to steel gray. Las Vegas is about 2030 feet above sea level, and consequently temperatures can vary quite radically from day to night. For example in February daytime temperatures have been recorded reaching highs of 31 degrees centigrade, and recorded lows for the nights have plummeted to -9 degrees centigrade.

As with most arid climates, water is a very precious commodity, and Las Vegans are now making a concerted effort to conserve water. They are being encouraged by the city fathers to propagate indigenous gardens that need less water, and to do away with lush lawns which gobble the fragile resource.

Summer

The climate is classified ‘arid, desert’ which basically means extremely hot summers, mild winters, loads of sunshine all year round with very little rain. Mid-summer, July and August, are traditionally the hottest months of the year, and what makes them so very uncomfortable is the extremely low humidity.

The highest temperature ever recorded in Las Vegas was a blistering 47 degrees centigrade – first in 1942 at the Nellis Air Force Base, and then again in 2005 at McCarran International Airport, which is situated only 1 mile from the famous ‘Strip’.

Winter

The mild winters lend a bit of light relief to the inhabitants of the City – they are generally cool and windy, and the little bit of rain which falls in the Mojave, happens during the winter. The average rainfall is a meagre 4.49 inches per year! In comparison Los Angeles in California has an average rainfall of 15 inches and Denver, Colorado has an average rainfall of 15.8 inches per annum!

The rain seldom falls in spring or autumn, but a weather phenomenon, known as the Mexican Monsoon sweeps moisture in from the Gulf of California, across Mexico and dumps it on the Nevada/Arizona area in the form of spectacular late afternoon thunder showers.

Although snow is not common in the city itself, the surrounding mountains are often dusted white, and many visitors take to the slopes to enjoy a bit of skiing before heading for the Roulette Wheels and Poker tables, and a free cocktail or two!