The Climate of Washington

By | August 27, 2022

According to Abbreviation Finder, Washington (WA) is a state in the northwestern United States. Washington has nothing to do with Washington DC, the nation’s capital. Washington is named after America’s first-ever president, George Washington. Washington is located on the Pacific Ocean and consists of a very varied landscape, with a mix of low-lying flat areas, rugged mountain areas, an active volcano (Mount Saint Helens), forest areas and hills. Within Washington are several mountain areas, which have their influence on the climate and the weather. The Cascade Mountains (also called Cascade Range) is the most dominant mountain area within Washington.

Different climate types

Washington has to deal with a number of climate types, which are relatively rare in the US. Most of Washington has a moderate Mediterranean climate (type Csb), with fairly dry summers, wetter winters and moderate temperatures throughout the year. Northwest Washington has a temperate maritime climate, which changes into a warm maritime climate. In general, the Pacific has a warming effect in winter, making extremely low temperatures virtually non-existent. In summer, however, potential heat is suppressed by the relatively cool seawater. Washington is one of the wettest states in America, with the largest amounts measured in the Cascade Mountains.

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℃ 0℃ 2 19
February 10℃ 1℃ 4 17
March 12℃ 2℃ 6 16
April 15℃ 3℃ 7 14
May 19℃ 6℃ 8 11
June 22℃ 8℃ 9 9
July 25℃ 10℃ 10 5
August 25℃ 10℃ 9 6
September 22℃ 8℃ 7 8
October 15℃ 5℃ 5 13
November 10℃ 3℃ 3 19
December 7℃ 1℃ 2 20

The climate of Bellingham

According to Countryaah, Bellingham is a large city on the west coast of Washington. Bellingham is located in Whatcom County, on Bellingham Bay in the Pacific Ocean. Off the coast of the city are the San Juan Islands, inland lies the northern part of the Cascade Mountains. The city owes its name to the bay of the same name that was given this name at the end of the 18th century. It took until the second part of the 19th century before settlers settled in this area. For years, the coal mines have been the city’s main source of income. Today, these account for only a small percentage of revenue.

Bellingham has a temperate maritime climate, which is mainly distinguished by the high rainfall that falls in this region. Especially during the winter months there is a lot of precipitation, which will consist of (wet) snow during the coldest days of the year. The summer months are a lot drier, with cool temperatures. The average temperature in the summer period is just above 20 degrees Celsius.

The climate of Everett

Everett is a city serving the US state of Washington. Everett is a very well-known place among aviation enthusiasts, because it is here that the largest factory of aircraft manufacturer Boeing is located. The headquarters of this largest American aircraft manufacturer is now located in Chicago, but the assembly of the widebody aircraft mainly takes place here in Everett. If you want, you can visit the Boeing factory. Under the name ‘Boeing Future of Flight’ you can become acquainted with this enormous factory and, accompanied by a guide, see where Boeing’s aircraft are assembled.

Everett has a temperate maritime climate. This Cfb climate is the same type of climate as we are dealing with in the Netherlands. It is a four-season climate, with precipitation throughout the year, fairly mild winters and somewhat tempered summers. In the case of Everett, it is noticeable that the summer period is somewhat drier than the winter season. That is because Everett has relatively little to do with spicy summer showers. The months of July and August are therefore the driest months of the year. The months of November, December and January are the wettest, with precipitation amounts above a hundred millimeters per month. Although Everett has no really cold winters, during the winter there is a reasonable chance that precipitation will fall in the form of snow instead of rain.


Something that is not immediately reflected in Everett’s climate statistics is that there can sometimes be significant fluctuations in temperatures. The wind is often the determining factor here. In winter, when an easterly flow kicks in, cool air from inland can flow more easily into Everett. It can get cold in winter. With a southern or western supply of air, it is generally a lot warmer. The average maximum temperatures in winter are around 7 to 10 degrees and the minimums are around or slightly above freezing. In summer you can count on maximums of 20 to 25 degrees on average, with the months of July and August being somewhat warmer than June. The night temperatures in summer are around 10 to 14 degrees.

The climate of Friday Harbor

Friday Harbor is a small port on San Juan, the largest island of the San Juan Archipelago in western Washington state. The archipelago was discovered at the beginning of the 18th century by the Spanish explorer Gonzalo López de Haro and received its final name at the end of this century. Friday Harbor is the largest port of these islands and therefore also the most important place in the archipelago. At the end of the 19th century, the archipelago was the scene of the Pig War between the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

Friday Harbor has a temperate maritime climate, which is strongly influenced by its location in the Salish Sea. The winter months here are mild and pleasant and prolonged frosts are rare. During these months, on average, the most precipitation falls here, which will come down as snow or sleet on the coldest days of the year. The summer months are fresh, with cool nights.

The climate of Leavenworth

Leavenworth is a special village in the American state of Washington. Although Leavenworth is located in the US, you will feel like you are somewhere in an Alpine village when you visit this place. Almost the entire village has an architecture that better suits a village in the south of the German state of Bavaria than in America. They go pretty far in detail in Leavenworth. You see typical German signboards, lots of woodwork and German dishes and weizener are on the menu in various restaurants. During the winter months, wintry weather conditions make Leavenworth truly resemble a quintessential European ski resort.

Leavenworth has a temperate continental climate. This continental climate is classified as a Dsb climate within the Köppen climate system. This indicates that this concerns the less common Mediterranean-continental variant of the continental climate. Characteristic are the warm dry summers. In the case of Leavenworth, you should think of average maximum temperatures of around 30 degrees in the months of July and August. June and September, with average maximums of about 25-27 degrees, can still be called very pleasant. The chance of rain in summer is quite small.

The climate of Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier is a volcano in the US state of Washington. With a peak of 4392 meters above sea level, it is the highest mountain within the Cascade Range, a mountain range that runs parallel to the west coast of the United States of America. Mount Rainier is a so-called stratovolcano. This is a cone-shaped volcano formed by layers of solidified lava and tephra (fragments of volcanic rock). For mountaineers, Mount Rainier presents a challenge. The steep slopes and the sometimes difficult glaciers do not make it easy for climbers.

Mount Rainier is today part of Mount Rainier National Park. The area around the volcano is popular for all kinds of hiking trips, including multi-day hikes. You can see the characteristic peak of Mount Rainier from many places within the park.

The climate that prevails on Mount Rainier mainly depends on the elevation and whether it is the windward or leeward side of the mountain. At the top of Mount Rainier, the ice sheet climate (EF climate) prevails. There is no more vegetation here. It is rocks, snow and ice that define the landscape here. If you descend a bit, you first enter a zone with a tundra climate before you reach the more temperate zones. In the lower areas you can see different continental and maritime climate types.

The Climate of Mount Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier National Park is a conservation area surrounding the stratovolcano Mount Rainier. With a height of 4392 meters, this is the highest peak in the Cascade Range and Washington state. The last eruption of Mount Rainier took place in the nineteenth century. It cannot be ruled out that a new eruption will occur in the relatively short term. The mountain, which has no fewer than 26 large glaciers, is a popular object among mountain climbers. According to experts, the ascent of Mount Rainier is a difficult expedition, which requires the necessary knowledge, experience and stamina. Hiking is a very popular activity within the national park. Especially in the summer months there is plenty of hiking in the Mount Rainier National Park.

During the winter people come here mainly to do winter sports. Snow is guaranteed from December to March. Especially in the spot Paradise, which is located within the park. This is the snowiest place in the world where the amount of snow is actually measured. In the case of Paradise, that’s a whopping 1,702 centimeters per year (17 meters of snow!).

The climate of the North Cascades National Park

The North Cascades National Park is a beautiful nature reserve in the north of the US state of Washington. The park occupies the north of the American portion of the Cascade Range. This high mountain area continues on the north side into neighboring Canada. The freely accessible North Cascades National Park offers the visitor numerous opportunities for hiking or other active or sporting activities. The landscape offers diverse views with mountains, forests and lakes. Especially the contrast of the snow-capped peaks with the green valleys creates fairytale pictures later in the year.

Its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean makes for temperate climates within the North Cascades National Park. Depending on the altitude at which you are, there is a cool maritime climate, a moderate continental climate or a moderate maritime climate in this over 2000 square kilometer nature reserve. In the higher parts there is a cool continental climate, which changes into a tundra climate in the mountain tops.

Thanks to its location near the Atlantic Ocean, the temperatures in the Olympic National Park are tempered. That means it won’t get cold as easily in winter and extreme heat won’t happen as quickly in summer. In the middle of summer, the average maximum temperatures in the park are around 21 to 25 degrees. Since the rainfall in the months of July and August is less, these are the best months to visit the Olympic National Park.

The climate of Olympia

Olympia is the capital of the US state of Washington. Olympia is located on the estuary of Puget Sound. Much of Washington’s population lives on this strait, most of which is in the metropolitan city of Seattle. Olympia is a relatively small place, which, in addition to its important political position, also has some importance in the cultural field. Art, especially film, plays an important role in Olympia.

Olympia has a moderate Mediterranean climate, with moderately mild winters and very pleasant summers, in which it rarely gets too hot. The months of July and August are not only the hottest months in Olympia, they are also the months with the lowest number of days with precipitation and where the total monthly precipitation sum is significantly lower than in other months. In total there is almost thirteen hundred millimeters of precipitation per year in Olympia. The period from November to March is considerably wetter. In winter, more precipitation falls in the form of rain than in the form of snow. This is because on many days it does not freeze during the day.

The Climate of the Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park is a conservation area on the Olympic Peninsula, Washington state. The park is known for its temperate rainforests. These occur worldwide only on a limited scale. After all, most rainforests are located in tropical climate zones. It is the climate here that provides unique rainforest vegetation, such as the combination of deciduous trees with mosses and large amounts of ferns.

The climate of the Olympic National Park has two different zones. In the western half there is a moderate maritime climate (the Cfb climate) and in the eastern part of the nature reserve you mainly see the moderate Mediterranean climate (Csb climate). The difference between the two zones is mainly determined by the amounts of precipitation that fall. In the west there is large amounts of precipitation. In the western Hoh rainforest, for example, you can count on an average precipitation of about 3500 millimeters per year. In the Elwha Ranger Station, the amount of rain and snow is much lower. There is ‘only’ about 1400 to 1500 millimeters of precipitation per year. The differences in precipitation can be attributed to the rain shadow effect,

The climate of Paradise

Paradise is an area on the southern slope of Mount Rainier. This spot within the Mount Rainier National Park is located at an altitude of about 1600 meters. Paradise is the most visited place within the national park. Here, for example, stands the historic Paradise Inn hotel, which has been welcoming guests since 1916. Located in Paradise, the Henry M. Jackson Visitor Center is the starting point for many park visitors on their trip to Mount Rainier National Park. Here they can get all kinds of information about the park and walking routes within the area. In addition, it is possible to make a sanitary stop here or to do some shopping for the road.

Paradise has a cool maritime climate (CFC climate), which is also referred to as a subpolar climate because of the temperatures. Temperatures are on the low side, but not low enough to qualify for a subarctic climate. In winter the maximum temperatures are on average slightly above freezing and at night it usually freezes moderately. In summer it is quite pleasant with average maximums of about 17-18 degrees. The minimum temperatures are then well above the freezing point. Since the months of July and August are considerably drier than the other months, these two summer months are the best time to visit Paradise.

A lot of snow

Paradise is the snowiest place on earth where snowfall is measured regularly. The average amount of snow that falls in Paradise in a year is 1702 centimeters. That is no less than 17 meters of snow on an annual basis! The minimum measured amount since the snowfall in Paradise has been recorded is 675 centimeters (winter 2014-2015). The annual record stands at 2850 centimeters of snow (winter of 1971-1972). That is no less than 28.5 meters of winter precipitation. Fortunately, the snow does not remain continuously. The thickest snow cover recorded at any given time was 9.3 meters (March 1956).

The climate of Pasco

Pasco is a large city in southeastern Washington state, not far from the Oregon state line. Pasco is located in Franklin County on the Columbia River, on the leeward side of the Cascade Mountains. Due to its location on the leeward side, Pasco is in a rain shadow area, which means that the city sees very little precipitation on an annual basis. The towns of Kennewick, Pasco and Richland together form the Tri-Cities. The city mainly lives from agriculture and the food processing industry.

Pasco has a steppe climate, which is mainly characterized by the low rainfall that falls in this region. This is mainly because the city is located on the leeward side of the Cascade Mountains. Periods of (night) frost can occur here during the winter months. During the summer months, temperatures are very high, with average temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius.

The climate of Seattle

Seattle is located in the central west of the state of Washington and is the largest city in this state. Seattle is located in King County, on the estuary of Puget Sound and Lake Washington. Seattle is one of the most important seaport in the US. Shipping here is mainly focused on trade with Asia. The Space Needle is probably the city’s most famous building. This observation tower was built for the 1962 World’s Fair. From the Space Needle you have a view of the Olympic Mountains, the Cascade Range, Mount Rainier and Mount Baker. Seattle is also the birthplace of grunge. In the 1990s, bands such as Nirvana, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains and Pearl Jam became known for this Seattle-originated music genre.

Seattle’s temperate oceanic climate

Seattle has a temperate maritime climate (also called temperate maritime climate), with the most precipitation during the winter period. On an annual basis, the region receives quite a lot of precipitation, making this part of the US one of the wettest in the country. Winters are cool but pleasant, with the occasional chance of prolonged frost or night frost. During the coldest days, the precipitation will come down as snow. The summer months are on the mild side, with average temperatures below 25 degrees Celsius. The relatively cool seawater prevents the temperature from rising too far. Seattle’s mild climate contributes to the livability of the city. Because a place where the weather shows all kinds of extreme forms is not easy to live in.

A characteristic of Seattle’s climate is that the UV index rises to a maximum of 8 in the summer, but can also reach UV index 7 in fairly cloudy weather. It is therefore important to protect yourself well against the radiation when you are on holiday here in the summer. It is also striking that the number of days with precipitation can vary enormously if you use different criteria. If you assume a daily minimum of 0.1 millimeters, you will arrive at approximately 145 to 155 precipitation days per year for Seattle. If you use 0.01 mm as a lower limit, then you suddenly arrive at approximately 250 days with precipitation on an annual basis. This is mainly due to descending mist, which occurs mainly in the cooler months.

The climate of Snohomish

Snohomish is a place in the US state of Washington. Snohomish is located just east of the metropolis of Seattle. The name Snohomish is a reference to the indigenous people who lived here before the pioneers settled there. Snohomish was called Cadyville at the time of its founding. This referred to co-founder Edson F. Cady, who co-founded the place in 1859 with Emory C. Ferguson. The historic downtown of Snohomish is a fine example of a traditional town in this part of the US. Snohomish is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for a reason. Snohomish has become a much-loved tourist destination in Washington due to its beautifully preserved historic buildings. It is striking that there are hardly any accommodation options in the center of Snohomish.

Snohomish has a temperate maritime climate. This Cfb climate ensures fairly mild winters, with a relatively low chance of heavy snowfall or severe frost. The maximum temperatures in winter are often well above freezing. At night there is mainly light frost, sometimes moderate frost. Severe frost is not too common in Snohomish. This is due to the relatively warm seawater of the nearby Pacific Ocean.

The climate of Spokane

Spokane is a large city in eastern Washington state not far from the Idaho state line. Spokane is located in the county of the same name, on the Spokane River, between the Rocky Mountains and the Cascade Mountains. The city is named after the Spokane Indians, who originally lived in this area. Fort Spokane was built here in the late 19th century. A few years later, with the arrival of the Northern Pacific Railway, the city of Spokane was born here. The city is home to Gonzaga University and Whitworth University.

Spokane has a cold steppe climate, which is mainly characterized by a cold winter period, with a long period of night frost. The average annual precipitation is very low, the precipitation that falls in the winter period will mainly come down as snow or wet snow. The summer period is warm and pleasant and sometimes even hot, with average temperatures just below 30 degrees Celsius.

The climate of Sunrise

The Sunrise Historic District is a seven-building community within Mount Rainier National Park. The visitor center located here is open from early July to early September. In the winter season the ‘visitor center’ is closed. Its location at an altitude of 1950 makes Sunrise the highest point in the park accessible by car. Although the visitor center in Paradise is more frequented, Sunrise is known for the nicer view of the spectacular surroundings.

Sunrise has a temperate continental-Mediterranean climate. Within the Köppen-Geiger climate system, this is a Dsc climate. The location in the northeastern part of the park ensures that you are on the favorable side with regard to precipitation. In Sunrise there is an average of ‘only’ about 2000 millimeters of precipitation per year. Because of the frost, this mainly happens in the form of snow in the winter season. The summer months (July and August) are the warmest, sunniest and driest. It is not for nothing that these two months are considered the best travel season to visit this area within the Mount Rainier National Park.

Temperatures in Sunrise are mainly below freezing during the winter, with sometimes a few hours during the day when the mercury rises above zero. During the cool nights the temperature drops considerably. The average minimums in December, January and February are around -7 degrees. This is only an average, with a reasonable chance of nights with severe frost (colder than minus ten degrees). In summer, the chance of summer temperatures is quite limited. The average maxima in Sunrise during the hottest months (July and August) are around 16-17 degrees.

The climate of Tacoma

Tacoma is one of the larger towns in the US state of Washington. The city is located on the Puget Sound. This estuary is an important lifeline within the state, serving as a good natural harbor. The name Tacoma comes from the nearby Mount Rainier. This mountain used to be called Takhoma or Tahoma. Popular points of interest in Tacoma include the Museum of Glass, the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium and the Fort Nisqually Living History Museum.

Based on the climate statistics, Tacoma has a moderate Mediterranean climate. This Csb climate is characterized by the fact that the driest month in summer has an average monthly precipitation of less than 30 mm and that the wettest month in winter has at least three times as much precipitation on average as the driest month in the winter season. Both July and August are below that limit of thirty millimeters, while the wettest months (November, December and January) are well above 100 millimeters.


Temperatures are quite mild in winter due to the influence of the Pacific Ocean. The relatively warm seawater makes extreme winter weather virtually impossible in the coolest months. In January and February the minimum temperatures are on average above freezing. The maximums are heading towards double digits. In the summer it is pleasant in Tacoma: warm, but not often too hot. Important for the summer weather in Tacoma is that it does not rain as often. The months of July and August are on the dry side.

The climate of Vancouver

Vancouver is a large city in southwestern Washington state, near the Oregon border. Vancouver is located in Clark County on the Columbia River and is part of the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan area. This metropolitan area is among the 25 largest in the United States. Until the city was founded here in the first half of the 19th century, this was the habitat of the Chinook and Klickitat Indians. Washington State University is located in the city.

Vancouver has a moderate maritime climate, with a lot of precipitation during the winter period. During the coldest months of the year, precipitation can come down as snow or sleet. Summers are dry and pleasant, with average temperatures around 25 degrees Celsius. During the summer months, the sun shines an average of 12 hours a day.

The climate of Walla Walla

Walla Walla is a medium-sized city in southern Washington state, not far from the Oregon border. Walla Walla is located in Walla Walla County and lives mainly from agriculture. In addition to agriculture, winegrowing has become an important source of income in recent years. The region is known for its excellent wines. Mainly Shirah and Merlots are produced. Due to the city’s northern location, there is a risk of frost, which means that once every few years the harvest freezes and is no longer usable.

Walla Walla has a Mediterranean climate, with the most precipitation during the winter months. The summer months are very pleasant, with temperatures reaching tropical heights during the day. In the summer period there is on average the least precipitation. During the winter months there can be periods of (night) frost. The precipitation will then come down as snow or wet snow.

The climate of Wenatchee

Wenatchee is a small city in the central part of the US state of Washington. Wenatchee is located in Chelan County, at the confluence of the Wenatchee and Columbia, on the edge of the Cascade Mountains. Outside the city is the Wenatchee National Forest. The city and the surrounding region have been inhabited for thousands of years. The oldest remains found here can be viewed at the Wenatchee Valley Museum & Cultural Center. The city itself was founded as a trading post in the second part of the 19th century. During this period, trade was mainly conducted with the local Indians.

Wenatchee has a cold steppe climate, which is characterized by a cold winter period with long periods of (night) frost. The summer months are short, with temperatures on average just below 30 degrees Celsius. The annual average precipitation is very low, giving the climate features of the cold desert climate.

The climate of Yakima

Yakima is a large city in the south-central part of Washington state. Yakima is located in Yakima County, on the Naches and Yakima Rivers, on the border of Mount Rainier National Park. The city is named after the Yakama Indians who originally lived in this area. When gold was discovered in this area, the Indians were chased away and the city of Yakima was founded here. Today, the city mainly lives from agriculture. The region is known for its apples. It is also the largest hop producer in the US.

Yakima has a cold steppe climate, which is mainly characterized by the extremely low precipitation in the region. During the winter months there can be long periods of frost. This frost will in most cases be limited to night frost. The summer months can get quite warm and tropical temperatures can exceed 30 degrees Celsius.

Yakima Washington