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Jackson Hole Climate

If there is one thing experts can say with certainty about the weather in Jackson Hole, it's that nothing is certain. A popular valley joke you may hear, "Don't like the weather? Wait 5 minutes." Despite the unpredictability, read on for trends that will guide you in your packing.

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During the summer, it is fair and sometimes even hot by local standards, when temperatures rise above 90 degrees. But evenings are often chilly. Killing frosts are possible on any night of the year. And thunderstorms travel quickly across the valley emitting sheets of rain, hail and claps of thunder that put Hollywood's special effects wizards to shame. Of course, it is precisely the cool, invigorating summer temperatures and even the weather's unpredictability that appeal to most.

While it is true that the valley's reputation for arctic cold has been a curse for publicists at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, it is also true that on those days when the temperature does not climb above 10 degrees (an average of 15 days each winter), there is usually a strong inversion. That is, the temperatures 2,000 feet above the valley floor are frequently 10 to 20 degrees warmer than they are in the valley. This has the peculiar effect of driving residents outdoors and to higher elevations on the coldest days of the year.

Temperature and Precipitation

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
Average High 25 31 38 48 61 71 81 79 69 57 39 28
Average Low 2 5 11 22 31 37 41 39 32 15 15 3
Extreme High 50 55 58 72 81 88 92 93 88 76 62 48
Extreme Low -46 -39 -25 -10 10 20 27 23 15 1 -20 -43
Average Snowfall 49 33 24 11 3 0 0 0 1 5 25 40
Average Rainfall 0 0 0 1 3 2 1 1 1 1 0 0

Season Descriptions

Whatever season, the rule in Jackson Hole is that the weather can change quickly. This is even more true if you are planning to spend some time in the mountain heights or visiting the back country. Plan to pack a number of layers so you can add or remove them as you need.

Spring (mid-April to mid-June)

The weather can be a bit unstable during this time of the year. Snow storms give way to spring showers and brilliant sunny days as winter makes its slow retreat. Snow can hinder travel in the high country, or make for great spring skiing! Rivers swell with runoff rushing off the mountains. Temperatures can make wild swings as storms travel in and out of the valley.

Summer (mid-June to mid-September)

Yes, it can sometime be hot in Jackson Hole. In the last several years, we've had dozens of days in July and August where the temperature has reached the upper 80s and lower 90s. Other years, 1993 for instance, we might only get one day over 80 degrees all summer!

Evenings can be chilly, dropping down into the 50s or colder, especially in June and September. Afternoon thundershowers can be intense as they travel quickly across the valley. But more true to course are bluebird sunny days sandwiched by cool mornings and evenings.

Fall (mid-September to mid-November)

Fall is sometimes referred to as the Secret Season: the days are shorter, the cottonwoods and aspens change color, and the weather gradually cools. Typically though, it remains warm enough (and sunny enough) to enjoy many summertime activities from fishing to hiking. Crowds are fewer and the parks are almost empty. As the end of fall approaches, the pleasant weather can be interrupted by rain in the valley and snow in the mountains.

Winter (mid-November to mid-April)

Winter starts with snow on the mountain peaks and gradually works its way downhill until, by the beginning of December, the valley is blanketed in snow. Periodic winter storms out of the Pacific fight with Arctic high pressure fronts from the Canadian mainland throughout the winter. Snowy, cloudy days tend to be warmer, anywhere from 10 degrees to 35 degrees F. When the weather clears, the thermometer falls with temperatures of 20 below or more rare, but not unknown.

The Inversion Effect

You'll hear people in the winter talking about the Inversion as if it were a gift from God. It is. When Jackson Hole has an inversion, the cold air is held down near the valley floor by a high pressure front. The good news is that the temperature can be 10, 20 or more degrees warmer up in the mountains. This has the peculiar effect of driving residents to the higher elevations on the coldest days to get warm!
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