The Climate of North Dakota

By | August 27, 2022

According to Abbreviation Finder, North Dakota (ND) is one of the United States. North Dakota is located in the north of the US and borders Canada. The western part of North Dakota belongs to the Great Plains, a large flat area that extends from Canada to the Mexican border. This large area, which mainly consists of steppe, prairie and grasslands, is located immediately east of the Rocky Mountains. On the plains you will still find a fairly large number of Indian reserves. Today, Native Americans make up only a few percent of the total population in North Dakota.


You will find two climate types in North Dakota, which transition into each other fairly gradually, because the amount of precipitation is the determining factor. The eastern part of North Dakota has a moderate continental climate, which is mainly characterized by its very erratic character, both in weather conditions and temperatures. The western part has a cold steppe climate. This is because the annual precipitation here is below the limit of five hundred millimeters.

The lack of any sea or ocean of significance allows the elements in North Dakota to have free rein at times. For example, a number of natural phenomena that are typical for this region, such as the downburst, occur here. This is an area of ​​rain-fed cold air that is sucked into the earth and then causes an outwardly blowing wind. This wind actually goes in all directions and actually works almost the opposite of a tornado, where the wind continues to rotate within the column. Tornadoes can also occur in North Dakota, as can severe snow storms (blizzards), severe thunderstorms and straight-line winds, known as the ‘hurricanes of the prairie’ due to the extremely high wind speeds.

The influence of the polar front is striking, which can ensure that it can become extremely cold in North Dakota during the winter months. Just like in many places with a continental climate, the summers can be warm to sometimes very hot. The climate of North Dakota has many contrasts, which means that the weather can sometimes differ considerably from week to week.

Climate figures

The figures below are based on long-term average climate statistics. The temperatures are displayed in degrees Celsius (°C).

maximum temperature minimum temperature hours of sunshine per day days of rainfall per month
January -7℃ -19℃ 5 8
February -3℃ -15℃ 6 7
March 4℃ -8℃ 7 8
April 13℃ -1℃ 8 9
May 20℃ 6℃ 10 10
June 25℃ 11℃ 11 11
July 29℃ 14℃ 11 9
August 28℃ 12℃ 10 8
September 22℃ 6℃ 8 7
October 15℃ 0℃ 6 5
November 4℃ -8℃ 4 6
December -4℃ -16℃ 4 8

The climate of Bismarck

According to Countryaah, Bismarck is the capital of the state of North Dakota in the northern United States. Bismarck is North Dakota’s second largest city in population, after Fargo, which is nearly twice the size of Bismarck. Bismarck is named after the German politician Otto von Bismarck, who died in 1898. Bismarck is located in the Great Plains and has a moderate continental climate, with long cold winters with sometimes reasonable amounts of snow.

Characteristic is the sometimes icy wind, which means that the perceived temperature in the coldest months (December, January and February) can be very low. For example, the average minimum temperature in January is no less than minus nineteen degrees Celsius, with the mercury on the coolest days even dropping to minus 30 to minus 40 degrees. The depth record for Bismarck is minus 45 degrees. As cold as the winters are, the summers can be as hot. With an average of 28-29 degrees Celsius in July and August, the average temperatures are almost at tropical level. It does apply here that it can be just twenty degrees one day, while a few days later it can suddenly reach forty degrees. The difference between the record minimum (minus 45 degrees) and record maximum (plus 46 degrees) is no less than 91 degrees.

On an annual basis, Bismarck has an average of 2740 hours of sunshine, which can be called fairly sunny for a city at this latitude. There is not much precipitation: an average of 428 millimeters per year, with an average of 125 centimeters of snow per winter season.

The climate of Dickinson

Dickinson is a small city in the southeastern US state of North Dakota. Dickinson is located in Stark County. Just outside the city is the Maah Daah Hey Trail. You can enjoy mountain biking, horseback riding, rock climbing and hiking on this trail. The total length of the trail is more than 150 kilometers. In the city are the Dickinson Museum Center and the Dakota Dinosaur Museum.

Dickinson has a temperate continental climate, with cold dry winter months and a short, warm summer period. The precipitation in the winter period will mainly come down as (wet) snow. The frost period here lasts a little longer, but is a little less severe than in other parts of North Dakota. Because Dickinson is located in Tornado Alley, you have to take this into account during tornado season.

The climate of Fargo

Fargo is a large city in eastern North Dakota, on the Red River. This river forms the border with the neighboring state of Minnesota. Like many cities in this part of America, the city was founded in the late 1800s, after the arrival of the Northern Pacific Railway. The city was soon nicknamed Gateway to the West. North Dakota State University has been located in the city since 1890. Today, it is still the city’s largest employer. Fargo has gained worldwide fame through the Hollywood film of the same name. However, not a single scene from the movie was shot here.

Fargo has a moderate continental climate, with the most precipitation during the summer months. There is not much rainfall throughout the year. During the winter months, the precipitation will mainly come down as snow and sleet. Snow storms regularly occur in the winter. The temperature does not rise above freezing in winter.

The climate of Grand Forks

Grand Forks is a medium-sized city in eastern North Dakota. Grand Forks is located in Stutsman County, on the Red River. This river forms the border with the state of Minnesota. On the other side of the river is the town of East Grand Forks. The city originated in the second half of the 19th century during the construction of the Northern Pacific Railroad. The city is home to the University of North Dakota, the state’s oldest university.

Grand Forks has a moderate continental climate, with a long cold winter. Summers are short but warm and sometimes even hot, with temperatures reaching up to 30 degrees Celsius and higher. Most precipitation falls during this period. The winters are cold and long, during the coldest winter months it can freeze more than 20 degrees. Grand Forks is located in Tornado Alley. You should keep this in mind during tornado season.

The climate of Minot

Minot is a medium-sized city in the central northern part of the US state of North Dakota. Minot is located in Ward County, by the Souris River. The town was created at the end of the 19th century during the construction of the Great Northern Railway. During Prohibition in the 1920s, the city was known as Little Chicago. The Air Force Base, located just outside the city, is the city’s largest employer.

Minot has a moderate continental climate, with long, cold winter months and a short, warm summer period. During the winter months, the mercury hardly rises above freezing. The summer months can get quite warm during the day and temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius are certainly no exception. During the nights, temperatures can easily be 10 to 15 degrees Celsius lower. Minot is located in Tornado Alley.

Minot North Dakota