Climate and monthly weather forecast
North Dakota, USA

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Flag of North Dakota, USA
Flag of North Dakota, USA

The climate of North Dakota

North Dakota has a humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dfb) in its eastern half and a semi-arid type (Köppen BSk) in the western half. Summers are warm to hot, while winters are cold. North Dakota is a Midwestern state at the center of the continent of North America. Minnesota to the east, South Dakota to the south, Montana to the west, and the Canadian Provinces of Saskatchewan to the northwest and Manitoba to the north share borders with the state. Temperatures and rainfall vary widely due to the interior location in the continent and more than 1000 miles distance from any large water body.

North Dakota, the Peace Garden State, has an average elevation of 580 meters, with the highest point at 903 meters at White Butte. Four geographical regions prominently divide the state. The Great Plains in the southwest include the famous Badlands region along with gently rolling hills and buttes. The Missouri Coteau extends diagonally from the northwest to the south-central border and consists of steep hills. The Glaciated Plains cover the rest of the state with gentle glaciated landscapes, streams, and moraines. The Red River Valley is a glacial lake plan that extends from the eastern border and is exceptionally fertile. Western and south-central rivers and their tributaries drain into the Missouri River, while eastern and north-central ones drain into the Red River.

The best time to visit North Dakota

The best time to visit North Dakota is usually from May in late spring to October in the autumn. Summer is typically the peak of the tourist season, and spring and autumn see discounted accommodation and fewer crowds. Thunderstorms and tornadoes are also regular factors to consider during late spring and summer. Autumn temperatures are considerably lower than the summer, and the season is dry. July and August are the calmest months in terms of wind speeds, while April and May are the windiest. Summer afternoons have low humidity compared to the winter.

The worst time to visit North Dakota

The worst time to visit North Dakota is during the cold winter season from December to February. The winter snowpack is persistent at least till March, and the average snowfall is 51" (1295mm). Arctic air masses reach the heart of the state with little resistance from the north and sweep the Great Plains with impunity. Blizzards average 2 to 3 in the season and reduce visibility to a few feet. Strong winds quickly fill the air with powdery snow, and major highways remain closed during snowstorms. Extremely cold temperatures make winter travel challenging, but there are plenty of fun-filled activities for snow lovers.

Spring weather in North Dakota

Spring in North Dakota presents a transition from the cold winters to warmer weather. Temperatures begin to rise, averaging between 40°F (4.4°C) to 60°F (15.6°C), but can still be affected by extreme conditions due to frontal air passages and high winds. The late spring is the beginning of the wettest part of the year, offering a refreshing change from the dry winter. Spring is relatively mild, creating an opportunity for outdoor exploration and enjoyment of the awakening natural scenery.

Summer weather in North Dakota

Summers are warm to hot in North Dakota, with average high temperatures from 77°F (25°C) to 87°F (30.6°C) at the peak of July. In some regions, temperatures even touch 100°F (37.8°C) for a few days. It is a time of vibrant outdoor activities and exploration of the state's diverse geography. Despite being the hottest season, summer afternoons maintain relatively low humidity compared to winter. The annual sunshine reaches its peak during this season with 354 hours in July.

Autumn weather in North Dakota

Autumn brings considerably lower temperatures than summer, and the season is relatively dry. The weather begins to cool, providing opportunities for outdoor activities without the summer's heat. Autumn is marked by beautiful foliage, enhancing the natural landscapes of the state. While summer is the peak of the tourist season, autumn offers a peaceful alternative with discounted accommodation and fewer crowds. The wind speeds increase, making April and May the windiest months.

Winter weather in North Dakota

Winters are cold in North Dakota, characterized by widespread snow cover and highly variable temperatures. Snowfall is the prominent form of precipitation in winter, averaging 51" (1295mm) annually. Temperatures often fall below 0°F (-17.8°C), and during years of little snowfall, the temperatures remain in the range from 40°F (4.4°C) to 60°F (15.6°C). The winter months are marked by dry and cold air masses, resulting in large daily fluctuations in temperatures. Despite its harshness, winter offers opportunities for snow enthusiasts, contributing to the year-round allure of North Dakota.

Weather in January

January is typically the coldest month of the year in North Dakota, with the entire state experiencing frigid temperatures. During this month, temperatures frequently fall below 0°F (-17.8°C) statewide. The minimum and maximum temperatures for January can vary widely, often ranging from -10°F (-23.3°C) to 15°F (-9.4°C). Weather in January »

Weather in February

February continues the trend of cold weather in North Dakota but often sees a slight increase in temperature compared to January. The minimum temperatures can range from -8°F (-22.2°C) to 18°F (-7.8°C), with maximum temperatures typically ranging from 10°F (-12.2°C) to 28°F (-2.2°C). Weather in February »

Weather in March

March in North Dakota signifies a transition period, as the state moves from the harsh winter into early spring. Though the winter snowpack is often persistent at least till the end of the month, there is a noticeable shift in temperatures. Weather in March »

Weather in April

April in North Dakota brings more pronounced signs of spring, yet the weather remains variable, with a mixture of lingering winter chill and warmer spring days. The month witnesses a broader range in temperatures, with minimum values from 25°F (-3.9°C) to 35°F (1.7°C) and maximum temperatures spanning from 45°F (7.2°C) to 60°F (15.6°C). Despite the warming trend, April is known to be one of the windiest months in North Dakota, with gusts that can impact daily life and travel. Weather in April »

Weather in May

May marks a significant shift towards warmer weather in North Dakota, leaving behind the lingering cold of the earlier months. During May, minimum temperatures typically range from 40°F (4.4°C) to 50°F (10°C), while maximum temperatures can vary from 60°F (15.6°C) to 70°F (21.1°C). Weather in May »

Weather in June

June is the gateway to summer in North Dakota, and it brings a substantial increase in warmth across the state. Minimum temperatures in this month generally range from 50°F (10°C) to 60°F (15.6°C), while maximum temperatures vary from 70°F (21.1°C) to 80°F (26.7°C). Weather in June »

Weather in July

July stands as the peak of summer in North Dakota, characterized by warmth and long days of sunshine. The minimum temperatures typically range from 55°F (12.8°C) to 65°F (18.3°C), while maximum temperatures hover from 80°F (26.7°C) to 90°F (32.2°C). Weather in July »

Weather in August

August continues the warmth of summer in North Dakota but begins to hint at the gradual transition towards autumn. Minimum temperatures in August usually range from 55°F (12.8°C) to 60°F (15.6°C), while maximum temperatures vary from 75°F (23.9°C) to 85°F (29.4°C). Weather in August »

Weather in September

September marks the onset of autumn in North Dakota, bringing a notable change in temperature and scenery. Minimum temperatures usually range from 45°F (7.2°C) to 55°F (12.8°C), while maximum temperatures fall between 65°F (18.3°C) to 75°F (23.9°C). Weather in September »

Weather in October

October solidifies the arrival of autumn in North Dakota, presenting a more pronounced drop in temperatures and a transformation of the natural landscape. Minimum temperatures typically range from 35°F (1.7°C) to 45°F (7.2°C), while maximum temperatures fall between 55°F (12.8°C) to 65°F (18.3°C). Weather in October »

Weather in November

November in North Dakota is a transitional month that bridges the colorful autumn season with the impending winter. Minimum temperatures often plummet to 20°F (-6.7°C) to 30°F (-1.1°C), while maximum temperatures range from 40°F (4.4°C) to 50°F (10°C). Weather in November »

Weather in December

December marks the official beginning of winter in North Dakota, and it is characterized by a significant drop in temperature, shorter days, and the widespread occurrence of snow. Minimum temperatures typically plummet to 5°F (-15°C) to 15°F (-9.4°C), while maximum temperatures hover between 25°F (-3.9°C) to 35°F (1.7°C). Across the state, the weather becomes more uniform, with the western and eastern regions alike experiencing frigid temperatures and snowfall. Weather in December »
Resources | Updated: Feb 1, 2024 | Published by: Weather Atlas

North Dakota, USA

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