Annual Precipitation in Utah And Nevada
December 11, 2022
Average precipitation is about 11 inches a year, varying from less than 8 inches over the Great Salt Lake Desert to 50 inches in the Wasatch Mountains. The average annual snowfall is about 4.5 feet, ranging from none in the southwestern valleys to more than 10 feet at ski resorts. The average growing season is 131 days.
The mountains of the Sierra Nevada along the state’s western boundary often cause clouds of Pacific origin to drop their moisture before reaching Nevada, thus producing a semiarid climate. The driest regions are in the southeast and near Carson Sink (a now-dry basin that was the centre of a lake system during the last major ice age, some 11,500 years ago), where annual precipitation seldom exceeds 4 inches. The northeast has as little as 8 inches of precipitation annually, whereas annual precipitation in the northwestern mountains often reaches 24 inches. Regional differences are pointed up by variations in the growing season: Las Vegas has about 240 days in its growing season, Reno about 155, and Elko only about 100.