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CLIMATE

Bhutan is at the same altitude as Miami and Cairo. The climate varies widely depending on the elevation.In the southern border areas it is tropical; at the other extreme, in the high Himalayan regions, there is perpetual snow. Temperatures in the far south range from 15 degree c in winter (December - February) to 30 degree C in summer (June - August). In Paro the range is from minus 5 degree c in January to 30 degree c in July, with 800m of rain .In the high mountain regions the average temperature is 0 degree c in winter and may reach 10 degree c in summer, with an average of 350mm of rain.

Only in the high Himalayan regions does the snow remain year round- in the form of glaciers. Some snow falls in northern and central Bhutan but does not remain on the ground for long. As a general rule, snow melts immediately below 2400m, stays a short while (longer in shaded areas) between 2400m and 3500m.
Rain occurs primarily during the southwest monsoon season from June to September. Bhutan bears the brunt of the monsoon, receiving more rainfall than other Himalayan regions - up to 5.5m a year. Only 150km south of Bhutan, Cherrapunji in Assam has recorded the highest rainfall in the world, averaging 9.5m annually with a record of 19.7m.

Precipitation varies significantly with the elevation. The average rainfall is:
Himalayan regions less than 500mm per year
Inner central valley’s 500mm-1000mm per year
Southern foothills 2000mm- 3500mm per year
Southern border area 3000mm- 5000mm per year

During the monsoon, heavy rain falls almost every night; in the day there may be long periods without rain. Low clouds hang on hills, obscuring views and if they are too low, forcing the cancellation of flights at Paro airport. The 200 monsoon was particularly severe, and caused widespread flooding and erosion in southern Bhutan, including damage to much of the Phuentsholing market area.

Very little rain falls during the autumn, from October to December, making this the ideal season for trekking and mountain viewing. On clear days during this period the mountain views are truly spectacular.
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