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Death Valley Weather and Climate
Getting today's weather or a forecast for the upcoming week is easy, but if you want to know what the weather might be 6 months from now - or whenever you're planning your trip - some average information about Death Valley climate may be more helpful.
If You're Planning a Death Valley Vacation, go to the Death Valley vacation planner for more information. Page 2 of this guide gives some tips for what to wear in Death Valley and what to pack if you're going there.
Do You Think Metric?
Click on over to page 3 to find the same information in °C and cm.
A Few Things You May Not Know About Death Valley Weather
You already know that averages aren't perfect predictors, but they can give you an idea of what Death Valley weather will be like when you go. The tables give the typical conditions at a glance.
It doesn't often rain in Death Valley, but flash floods are a danger when it does. The desert soil gets so dry that water does not soak in, forcing all the rainfall to accumulate into runoff.... During heavy rains, flooding can start almost immediately.
Night temperatures will be about 20 to 30 °F degrees lower than in the daytime. Lower elevations are hotter than higher ones, with the temperature dropping by three to five °F for every 1,000 feet (300 m) of elevation.
Death Valley Weather Records
The highest recorded temperature anywhere on Earth was 134 °F, which was measured at Death Valley in July 1913. The lowest was 0°F in 1988. According to the National Park Service, the highest ground temperature at Death Valley was 201°F at Furnace Creek on July 15, 1972. The maximum air temperature for that day was 128°F.
Average rainfall at Death Valley is less than 2 inches per year. In some years, it's even less. That's because storms moving inland from ocean lose water when they pass over mountains - and there are four major mountain ranges between Death Valley and the Pacific. According to the National Park Service, no rain fell at all in 1929 and 1953 - and it got only 0.64 inches of rain over 40 months in the early 1930s.Continue to 2 of 3 below.
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What to Wear, What to Pack for Your Death Valley Trip
What to Wear in Death Valley
You know how to match temperature to your wardrobe selection, so this list focuses more on style and practical considerations you might not think of.
- Casual outdoor clothing is appropriate almost anywhere in Death Valley.
- In the dining room at the Furnace Creek Inn, the dress code for dinner is “resort attire.” T-shirts and tank tops are not allowed.
- The desert cools off fast after sunset, and you may need an extra layer in the evening.
- If you're packing a swimsuit in summer, you'll also need a cover up - the sun is too strong to be in it all day long.
- Hats are a must in the bright sun. Big brims are a good idea, too.
- Sturdy shoes with thick soles and good traction if you plan to go hiking
What to Pack for Death Valley
These are a few things that I have found helpful to have along when going to Death Valley:
Continue to 3 of 3 below.
- The air in the desert can be very dry. Avoid an emergency trip to the local store by bringing lots of lotion, moisturizer and eye drops. If your nose tends to... dry out easily, add a bottle of saline nose spray to keep it moister.
- Strong sunscreen is a good idea, higher SPF than you might use at home.
- Cooling neck wraps are a big help on hot days. Sold at sporting goods stores, they contain a gel that soaks up water, then keeps you cool as it evaporates. Small, personal misters are also a big help.
- If you plan to do a driving tour, a small, portable ice chest is a good way to carry a few cool drinks and snacks.
- If your hair tends to fall flat in dry weather, bring extra products to keep it fluffed up.
- You're unlikely to need an umbrella or raincoat - Death Valley seldom gets much rain.
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Death Valley Weather and Climate (Metric Units)
If you're more comfortable with Celsius and centimeters than Fahrenheit and inches and these graphs are just for you.
If you prefer those units of measure, then we guess that you may be an international visitor. If you are, you're not alone.
Besides the information on the previous page, here are a few more things that may help you plan your trip:
- International driver's license requirements
- When you need snow chains in California - and where to get them
- Some simple rules of the road in California
Things You May Not Know About Death Valley Weather
Night temperatures will be lower than in the daytime. Lower elevations are hotter than higher ones, dropping by 3°C for every 300 m of elevation.
Death Valley Weather Records
The highest recorded temperature in history was 57°C, at Death Valley in July 1913. The lowest was -18°C in 1988. According to the National Park Service, the highest ground temperature at Death Valley was 93°C at Furnace Creek on July 15, 1972. The maximum air temperature for that... day was 53°C.
Average rainfall at Death Valley is less than 5 cm per year. In some years, it's even less. That's because storms moving inland from ocean lose water when they pass over mountains - and there are four major mountain ranges between Death Valley and the Pacific. According to the National Park Service, no rain fell at all in 1929 and 1953 - and it got only 1.6 cm of rain over 40 months in the early 1930s.