About NWCCOG / Our Region / Climate and Elevation

Climate

The rugged topography of western Colorado causes large variations in climate within short distances, and few climatic generalizations apply to the whole area. At the summits of mountains, temperatures are low, averaging less than 32° F over the year. Snow-covered mountain peaks and valleys often have very cold nighttime temperatures in winter, when skies are clear and the air is still – occasionally to 50° F below zero. Summer in the mountains is a cool and refreshing season. At typical mountain stations the average July temperature is in the neighborhood of 60° F. The highest temperatures are usually in the seventies and eighties, but may reach 90° F to 95° F.

Above 7,000 feet, the nights are quite cool throughout the summer, while bright sunshine makes the days comfortably warm. The lower western valleys of the State are protected by surrounding high terrain, and have a greater uniformity of weather than the eastern plains. They experience high summer temperatures, comparable to those of the eastern plains, while average winter temperatures are somewhat lower than at similar elevations in the plains, due largely to the relative infrequency of chinook of other warming winds.

Precipitation west of the Continental Divide is more evenly distributed throughout the year than in the eastern plains. For most of western Colorado, the greatest monthly precipitation occurs in the winter months, while June is the driest month. Thunderstorms are quite prevalent along the eastern slopes of the mountains during the spring and summer. These often become quite severe, and the frequency of hail is quite high. Tornadoes almost never occur in the mountains or in the west.

Other severe storms include winter blizzards. Heavy snows in the high mountains create the danger of avalanches, which are a hazard to residents and road maintenance crews. A spring flood potential results from the melting of the snow pack at the higher elevations. In a year of near-normal snow accumulations in the mountains and normal spring temperatures, river stages become high, but there is no general flooding. In years when snow cover is heavy, or when there is a sudden warming in the spring at high elevations, there may be extensive flooding. Heavy thunderstorms may cause flash floods on the western slopes, but with relatively low frequency.

Climate: Select Reporting Areas in NWCCOG's Region

  Jan
avg. max/min

 
Apr
avg. max/min

 
Jul
avg. max/min

 
Oct
avg. max/min

 
Annual
Max

 
Annual Min Precipitation
avg. annual (in)
Snowfall
avg. annual (in)
Eagle County                
Basalt 33 / 4 50 / 22 80 / 41 58 / 25 54.9 22.8 16.77 66.3
Eagle 35 / 6 59 / 27 86 / 47 64 / 27 60.8 27.2 10.68 48.0
Vail 28 / 5 49 / 23 76 / 42 54 / 25 51.2 23.6 23.1 189.0
Grand County                
Grand Lake 32 / 4 51 / 20 76 / 39 56 / 24 53.3 21.3 19.8 137.2
Kremmling 26 / -1 53 / 25 80 / 45 58 / 24 53.8 23 12.06 55
Jackson County                
Walden 28 / 4 49 / 21 77 / 40 54 / 23 51.2 21.7 12.4 63
Pitkin County                
Aspen 36 / 9 53 / 27 78 / 48 58 / 30 55.8 28.3 24.9 179
Summit County                
Dillon 32 / 1 47 / 18 74 / 39 53 / 21 51.1 19.7 14.6 108

Elevation

Region 12 is often referred to as the "high country", as elevations range from a high point of 14,270 (Grays Peak in Summit County) to a low of 6,312 in the Town of Gypsum in Eagle County. The average elevation of the towns in Region 12 is 8,124 feet above sea level.

Elevations in NWCCOG's Region

Area Elevation
Eagle County  
Avon 7,431
Basalt 6,611
Eagle 6,601
Gypsum 6,312
Minturn 7,861
Red Cliff 8,671
Vail 8,189
Grand County  
Fraser 8,553
Granby 7,966
Grand Lake 8,389
Hot Sulphur Springs 7,730
Kremmling 7,364
Winter Park 8,776
Jackson County  
Walden 8,097
Pitkin County  
Aspen 7,890
Snowmass Village 6,611
Summit County  
Blue River 10,036
Breckenridge 9,728
Dillon 9,111
Frisco 9,075
Montezuma 10,312
Silverthorne 8,756
My Favorites
My Favorites
Add Page
Add Page
Print
Print
You have 0 items saved in "My Favorites"
Use "My Favorites" to collect pages and downloads that you would like to keep in one place. To store a page, click on the "Add to My Favorites" button at the top of the page. To store a download, click on the plus button next to the download link. My Favorites will be saved for seven days.

Sources: