Weather in Las Vegas

Weather in Las Vegas is categorized as an arid desert climate, which is quite distinct from what most people are accustomed to.

Since we have visitors from around the world, from different hemispheres and very different climate zones, I've put together a guide on our year round weather to make it easier for those of you who will be visiting Las Vegas. 

Besides the weather, below you'll find some general advice on the type of clothing you'll want to pack and bring along with you, organized in a month by month format. 

But first, I'll cover a few general items about our weather - Wind, Sunshine, Humidity and Rain here in the Las Vegas valley.


Some basic Vegas weather stuff

WIND - Generally, there's always a nice breeze blowing thru the valley. Here and there it picks up moderately and can get gusty. It can last anywhere from an afternoon to a day, rarely two.  

We'll get some big strong winds now and again, mostly during winter and monsoon season, but they can blow anytime during the year. Usually it's California's fault.

We don't get those Biblical sand storms like Arizona does, but we will get sand whipped around when the big winds do blow through our valley. It'll make for hazy skies and more static electricity when it does.

Odds are fairly low that you'll see heavy winds though since it's occasional.

SUNSHINE - We're among the best for this. 85% of the year, or just over 290 days. Vegas is known for many days with beautiful clear blue skies. Also for clouds that don't cover us up very much, but make for some great sunrises and sunsets.

Winter months can see some overcast days but that isn't real common. 

During our July-August monsoon season, we'll see weather from the Gulf of Mexico reaching all the way up, giving us high humidity and thunderstorms. Usually those storms don't last long, but will drop rain quickly and at times a little hail.

One thing you may notice is how temps drop off after sunset, which is normal for the desert. You'll feel it when out in our desert areas but not as quickly in the city.

Now with so many roads and buildings, the 'radiator effect' holds the heat longer and over a larger area than before.

HUMIDITY - Normally, not a lot of this. Many love it, some hate it ... especially women. It's a hair and skin thing. Having moved a few times, I've lived in humid places off and on. 

Me, I love the desert. Sure we get some really hot days in the summer but hey, "It's a dry heat". I've had hot and humid, and all that goes along with that ... no thanks. I'll keep this.

Usually when our humidity cranks up it's because of a rainy system, so it's actually a treat since it isn't real common out here.

RAIN - It's the desert so not much of this either. Average is a little over 4 inches per year. It's reason to celebrate when we do get it.

Winter months Nov-Mar and monsoon season months Jul-Aug will drop the most rain on us. But as you can see, it doesn't add up to much. 

It's rare for us to get a day of steady rain or drizzle. Usually we'll get a system that dumps rain as it passes through, which can create conditions for flash floods to occur. 

The place to take special note of this is out in our desert areas. Desert terrain isn't porous or level, so rain won't sink into it much. Instead it rolls over and through it as it accumulates down to lower levels. 

That's how flash floods are created.

Because of this, rain that drops miles from where you are can create flooding that can travel pretty fast and far ... and also be headed in your direction. 

Whether in the city or the desert, they can be dangerous. That's one of the things I cover in my desert area recommendations page, so if you're out in our desert areas please read the advice on flash floods.

If driving in the city, you need to be careful of these too. It's easy to underestimate the power behind flowing water. If you come across it, it's best to just turn around and find another route to take.

One great thing I remind people about now and then is that our desert climate means almost no mosquitoes! Imagine the incredible buffet feast they'd enjoy every night on the Strip if we did!


It's all Relative

It can be a little difficult advising people on what to wear because cold to a UK visitor is much different than cold to someone from Oregon, or France, or Florida, or China, or New York, so forth and so on. Same goes for the heat. 

People from high humid zones really enjoy our kind of heat while here. Our temp numbers can be tricky because of the humidity factor but basically, you can add 7-10 degrees to humid places to equate it to ours.

For example, 72-75 Fahrenheit is real nice in a humid area. For us, 79-82 degrees would be just as nice.

I also point out the clothing I commonly see year in and year out. From there just simply adjust it according to your weather tolerance. You'll find general advice for days and nights on the Strip as well as for those headed to our great outdoors areas. 

Naturally, there will also be times when unusual forces comes together.

For example, while writing this page, our valley got stuck within a high pressure system that gave us some late March weather in early February - and 70 plus degrees for over a week. Some days saw 10 to 15 degrees over norm for this time of the year.

There's been years where spring ran a little into June, and some when summer started in mid May. Afterall, we are talking weather so be sure to double check our weather before packing up.

Most people visit Las Vegas in the range of 3 to 7 days. If when checking our forecast you see unusal weather, check out either the previous or following month. If temps will be closer to those months for the time you're here, follow those suggestions. 

Generally speaking our weather patterns don't often deviate too radically so you can use these monthly suggestions as a basic guide. 

The following monthly averages are in Fahrenheit and Celsius, followed by average high and low's.


Monthly Averages

JANUARY - F 58 - 39  --  C 14 - 4

This month is pretty much the middle of our winter. Long-sleeves and sweaters, long pants and jackets. 

Strip - with slight to moderate breeze, you'll want at least 2 good layers in the day. One warm long sleeve or sweater and medium jacket. At night, 2 good layers and heavier jacket.

Outdoors - 2 good layers plus heavier jacket. Winter wear for elevations and snow play, which normally it's a good month for. Although it's occasional, we may even get a little white stuff in the valley. Love when that happens.

A moderate wind can really add a biting chill to our cold dry desert air, so if you'll be out in it any length of time, bear that in mind. Some nights can dip down and get really cold. Rain may be seen more during this month thru March. 

FEBRUARY - F 63 - 43  --  C 17 - 6

Normally it's a tad warmer than January ... but you sure couldn't tell by how its been this year 2016! It's been more like mid March.

Generally, the same advice for January is still good for this month too. Some days walking the Strip, a warm long sleeve or under shirt with sweater may be enough but have a jacket handy just in case the wind starts up. Conditions for snow play usually still okay this month.

MARCH - F 70 - 49  --  C 21 - 10

This is the game changer month. Here is when winter starts losing its grip in the Valley.

You'll still want long pants but the days may be nice enough for shorts, so bring some. Nights may still have a slight chill to being a bit cooler later on.

Strip - In the day, can be warm enough for shorts. If not, then 2 layers of lighter material, a tee shirt under a button up or one you can open up if you get warm walking around. 

At night, same 2 layers and keep light jacket handy. You'll still want the option to layer up if it gets breezy in the evening or night, but it's likely you won't need it. 

If the temps are running a bit on higher side, bring your bathing suit. It may get to being good days for that in the afternoon.

Outdoors - Good month for day outings. Keep in mind it's still colder at higher elevations so you still want 2 layers and jacket, especially for breezy days and the evenings. Temps can drop pretty quick after sunset. 

Nice cool days for golfers. This month is normally when snow play ends, so be sure to check if you were hoping for that.

Last few weeks will be real nice in the day with mild nights usually. First tugs of spring come later in the month and desert vegetation begins to come alive. 

APRIL - F 78 - 56  --  C 26 - 13

Hello Spring! This is a great month to be outdoors. This is normally the begining of shorts and full-on pool season in Vegas. 

Strip - Shorts, light top wear, sandals during the day. Nights will be mild and pleasant. Later nights may still get a tad cool so have a long sleeve and at least one pair of long pants for that. Jeans, as ususal, are perfect.

Outdoors - Great time of year for the outdoors. Have long pants for higher elevations. Tee shirts or similar should be fine in the day, but if staying outdoors into the later evening or night, have a long sleeve handy. Great golf days.

This is the first full month where Spring is all around and it's great. One of the best months to hit outdoor places that can be too hot during summer and to stay longer. Desert areas should be blooming with all kinds of wildflowers. 

Gets even better as we slide deeper into Spring the last few weeks.

MAY - F 89 - 66  --  C 32 - 19

Great Spring Days in this month. Nice and warm in the day, nights are excellent.

Strip - Bring your summer wear. Shorts, tank tops, bathing suits, sandals, etc. Days will be warm, a tad toasty even, but real nice. Summer wear all around on the Strip day or night.

Outdoors - Excellent for outdoor places of all kinds. It's the kind of warm everybody loves. Simply one of the best months for being out. Higher elevations can cool quickly after sunset. Golfing's great.

Last few weeks are normally great and begin the warm up to summer. Some years spring lingers, others we get a summer preview as nature's oven goes into pre-heat mode

JUNE - F 99 - 75  --  C 37 - 24

Summer is here. Mid-days get toasty, early mornings and late evenings will feel pretty good. After sunset you'll feel the temps drop nicely.

Strip - continue with summer wear, day or night, with nights usually being quite nice, but be sure to stay hydrated.

Outdoors - Mid-days get toasty but at higher elevations are just great. Golfer's - this month through rest of summer it's early tee time season. 

Last couple of weeks normally get real hot. 

JULY - F 104 - 81  --  C 40 - 27 

Hot! No two ways about it. Typically our hottest month.

Strip - Summer wear. If walking the Strip, keep it to short jaunts, have plenty of water as well as shade for your head. The heat can really sneak up on you since you might not seem to be sweating much, but that's deceptive in a desert climate. You are ... it just drys up real fast, so be sure to stay well hydrated. 

Nights will be toasty and a breeze will feel like a blow dryer. 

Outdoors - Places with higher elevations will be a good way to get a break from the heat and we have a few that are great for that. Aside from those, the pool will be the next best option for staying out in the heat for any length of time.

For those not accustomed to this kind of heat, be mindful its effects can be subtle until it overtakes you. Be sure that you stay hydrated, have access to shade and means to get out of the heat if you feel any strain.

Over the years I've seen plenty of tourist come in from the Strip panicky, red-faced and weak from the effects of the heat. It can get serious so please heed the advice and keep good tabs on how your body is responding to the heat.

This is the time of year that always has me amazed at our how ancestors were able to cope with life in the desert. 

AUGUST - F 102 - 79  --  C 39 - 26

Not much different than July so the above will be the same for August.

SEPTEMBER - F 94 - 71  --  C 34 - 22

This is our other game changer month. It s-l-o-w-l-y begin to change after a long hot summer, with the last few weeks seeing some really nice days. 

Strip - Summer wear. Same advice as July but temps begin to go down. Still hot in the day, but nights will be real nice. Mid-month usually gets even better. 

Outdoors - Summer wear. Great days at higher elevations. Elsewhere in the Valley will still get hot but cool off nicely around sunset.

Last week or so often begins the beautiful days of fall.

OCTOBER - F 81 - 59  --  C 27 - 15

Fall is here - Yee-Haw! Just beautiful days with later nights taking on a slight chill.

Strip - You can still do summer wear in the day. Later into the evening it cools off nicely. Late evenings can take on a slight chill. Have long pants and also keep long sleeve or light jacket handy for those nights since a little wind can chill things up a little more.

Outdoors - Just gorgeous in the valley. Higher elevations get cold, so have 2 thick layers or warm long sleeve and heavier jacket for that. Excellent days for golf.

About the last week is when it starts to get much cooler as we slide into winter.

NOVEMBER - F 66 - 47  --  C 19 - 8

Normally the start of winter. Beginning of month is cold and progressively gets colder.

Strip - Time to layer up. Long sleeves and sweaters, long pants and jackets. Caps, beanies and scarfs help too.

Days you'll want 2 layers with one being either sweater or medium jacket. Nights you'll want heavier jacket. A good breeze will get you cold quickly if staying out and about for a while.

Outdoors - Higher elevations real cold. 2 good layers and heavy jacket anywhere ourdoors this month.

You'll get some really nice, clear, crispy and sunny cold days ... which makes for some beautiful outings. This time of year it feels great getting out and about and then coming in for an evening by a fireplace.

Don't forget - the Strip has Thanksgiving meals pretty much everywhere if visiting during that time. 

DECEMBER - F 57 - 39  --  C 14 - 4

Winter time. Cold days and colder nights.

Strip and Outdoors - Same advice as November.

Typically December is when snow begins piling up on the mountains. Winter wear in high elevations and for snow play. 

We'll get some real biting winds at times so be sure to be ready for those if heading outdoors. Bring warm head wear and gloves.

During the holidays at the end of the month you'll see all kinds of Christmas and holiday events, including ice skating, on and off the Strip.


Final Thoughts

By and large, our weather here is really good. It's just one more aspect about Las Vegas that so many people enjoy. Sure, we'll get some change ups here and there, but they're very rarely big surprises. 

That's one reason conventions are so popular here. It's also why it's gotten to be a retirement destination for many over the years. The many repeat visitors rarely worry too much about it. If you're a new visitor, you'll see why.

Again, be sure to check the forecast for your time here and if temps are a little more like the month before or after the time you'll be here, follow that other month's advice. 

Being here so long, I feel confident in what I've outlined but be sure and double check. Afterall, we are talking weather ... and we all know how fickle mother nature can be.  

Here's hoping you enjoy some great weather, great times and a little luck while visiting here in Las Vegas. 

Lou

You may find average temps slightly different on other sites but all are within a slight variance - not enough to make a real difference. The above info listed is from the National Weather Service. Averages are from their 30 year range of records between 1981 - 2010.

Source: NOAA - http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/vef/climate/LasVegasClimateBook/Temperature%20Overview.pdf

If interested in more in-depth Las Vegas weather - http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/vef/climate/LasVegasClimateBook/index.php

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