The Air Up There: Weather in Nepal

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We get lots of questions about weather.

This makes sense.  Our clients fly halfway around the world and they want to know what to expect.  In a country with the geographic diversity of Nepal, this isn’t always the easiest question to answer.  We decided to break it down by region…

We’ll start with the easy stuff:  Kathmandu.

Weather in the capital city is pretty mild with predictably clear fall and spring seasons and a light monsoon season that stretches from May to September.  Winters are cool, but snow is extremely rare in the Kathmandu Valley.  If you’re joining us for a spring or fall expedition, expect to wear t-shirts during the day with a fleece at night.  For our summer expeditions, your time in Kathmandu will be a bit more humid with afternoon showers almost daily.  Keep a rain jacket with you for the unexpected, but short, burst of rain.

Some average highs, lows, and rainfall numbers:

Month Minimum Temperature Maximum Temperature Rainfall in Millimeter
01 Jan 03C / 37F 17C / 62F 47mm
02 Feb 02C / 35F 21C / 70F 11mm
03 Mar 07C / 44F 25C / 77F 05mm
04 Apr 09C / 48F 30C / 86F 05mm
05 May 15C / 59F 29C / 84F 146mm
06 Jun 19C / 66F 29C / 84F 135mm
07 Jul 19C / 66F 28C / 82F 327mm
08 Aug 19C / 66F 29C / 84F 206mm
09 Sep 18C / 64F 28C / 82F 199mm
10 Oct 13C / 55F 29C / 82F 42mm
11 Nov 06C / 42F 24C / 75F 00mm
12 Dec 02C / 35F 21C / 70F 01mm

source: Nepal Bureau of Standards (http://www.nepalvista.com/travel/kathmandu-temperature.php)

       

Nepal’s climate is all about altitude.  On the plains of the southern Terai region, where the altitude doesn’t reach above 305m, temperatures can spike to 113F with a heavy, year-round humidity.  The middle hills region–where Kathmandu is located–has a much more moderate and pleasant climate.  Days are warm with the higher altitude sun and nights are cool.  In the northernmost mountain region, altitudes above 3300m mean alpine temperatures and cold winters.  In addition to variation caused by elevation, Nepal’s distinct seasons each have something to offer:

Spring (March – May): Temperatures are mild, but warming in the lower altitudes.  The skies are clear and the national flower of Nepal, the rhododendron, comes into bloom throughout the mountains.

Summer (June – August): The monsoon season means heavy rains for the lower elevations.  In the high mountain regions, treks through the rain shadow are mostly unaffected.

Autumn (September – November): This is Nepal at its finest.  When the monsoon subsides, the clear skies reveal soaring peaks and mild temperatures.  This is also festival season, so get ready to experience the many of the most important days on the Hindu calendar.

Winter (December – February): The weather is cool throughout and the sky is clear with occasional snowfalls at higher elevations. This season is great for trekking in lower elevations.  Expect chilly nights and sunny days.

Preparation and knowledge of season trends is important, but regardless of when you choose to visit Nepal, you’re sure to be impressed.

Additional Resources

http://www.mountain-forecast.com/weather_maps/Nepal

http://www.mountain-forecast.com/maps/Nepal

http://www.meoweather.com/

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