Part 3: Climate

Section 1: Introduction

Photovoltaic systems at an oil well site

Figure 65.  Autumn in North Dakota. This is the Hi-Line Bridge over the Sheyenne River near Valley City, North Dakota. (ND Tourism)

North Dakota has a continental climate. A Continental Climate• Climate with warm summers and cold winters
• Found on land located far from an ocean
with warm summers and cold winters is found on land that is located far from an ocean. North Dakota is located at the center of the continent of North America, about 1,500 miles from any of the oceans that border the continent.

North Dakota’s climate is typical of a continental climate. There is a wide range of temperatures. The record high temperature for the state was 121° in 1936.  In that same year, North Dakota had a record low temperature of minus 60°.

North Dakota’s climate has light to moderate rainfall.  The eastern portion of North Dakota receives the most rainfall and the far southwestern part of the state receives the least. North Dakota has plenty of mild, sunny days, but many days are also windy.

North Dakota has four distinct (different) seasons.  Summers are warm and ideal for growing many crops. Fall is usually mild and warm, sometimes well into November.  Winter in North Dakota is often cold with many snowy days. Spring usually arrives in late March or early April.