Average Weather in Alta Sierra California, United States
In Alta Sierra, the summers are hot, arid, and mostly clear and the winters are long, cold, wet, and partly cloudy. Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from 39°F to 89°F and is rarely below 32°F or above 97°F.
Based on the tourism score, the best time of year to visit Alta Sierra for warm-weather activities is from mid June to mid September.
The hot season lasts for 3.1 months, from June 15 to September 19, with an average daily high temperature above 82°F. The hottest day of the year is July 28, with an average high of 89°F and low of 67°F.
The cool season lasts for 3.9 months, from November 17 to March 14, with an average daily high temperature below 59°F. The coldest day of the year is December 27, with an average low of 39°F and high of 52°F.
Average High and Low Temperature
The figure below shows you a compact characterization of the entire year of hourly average temperatures. The horizontal axis is the day of the year, the vertical axis is the hour of the day, and the color is the average temperature for that hour and day.
Average Hourly Temperature
frigid 15°F freezing 32°F very cold 45°F cold 55°F cool 65°F comfortable 75°F warm 85°F hot 95°F sweltering
In Alta Sierra, the average percentage of the sky covered by clouds experiences extreme seasonal variation over the course of the year.
The clearer part of the year in Alta Sierra begins around May 24 and lasts for 5.0 months, ending around October 22. On July 29, the clearest day of the year, the sky is clear, mostly clear, or partly cloudy 90% of the time, and overcast or mostly cloudy 10% of the time.
The cloudier part of the year begins around October 22 and lasts for 7.0 months, ending around May 24. On February 26, the cloudiest day of the year, the sky is overcast or mostly cloudy 60% of the time, and clear, mostly clear, or partly cloudy 40% of the time.
Cloud Cover Categories
0% clear 20% mostly clear 40% partly cloudy 60% mostly cloudy 80% overcast 100%
A wet day is one with at least 0.04 inches of liquid or liquid-equivalent precipitation. The chance of wet days in Alta Sierra varies significantly throughout the year.
The wetter season lasts 5.9 months, from October 28 to April 23, with a greater than 18% chance of a given day being a wet day. The chance of a wet day peaks at 35% on February 28.
The drier season lasts 6.1 months, from April 23 to October 28. The smallest chance of a wet day is 0% on July 19.
Among wet days, we distinguish between those that experience rain alone, snow alone, or a mixture of the two. Based on this categorization, the most common form of precipitation throughout the year is rain alone, with a peak probability of 35% on February 28.
Daily Chance of Precipitation
To show variation within the months and not just the monthly totals, we show the rainfall accumulated over a sliding 31-day period centered around each day of the year. Alta Sierra experiences extreme seasonal variation in monthly rainfall.
The rainy period of the year lasts for 8.7 months, from September 19 to June 10, with a sliding 31-day rainfall of at least 0.5 inches. The most rain falls during the 31 days centered around February 17, with an average total accumulation of 5.8 inches.
The rainless period of the year lasts for 3.3 months, from June 10 to September 19. The least rain falls around July 30, with an average total accumulation of 0.0 inches.
Average Monthly Rainfall
The length of the day in Alta Sierra varies significantly over the course of the year. In 2018, the shortest day is December 21, with 9 hours, 25 minutes of daylight; the longest day is June 21, with 14 hours, 55 minutes of daylight.
Hours of Daylight and Twilight
The earliest sunrise is at 5:37 AM on June 14, and the latest sunrise is 1 hour, 57 minutes later at 7:34 AM on November 3. The earliest sunset is at 4:41 PM on December 7, and the latest sunset is 3 hours, 53 minutes later at 8:34 PM on June 27.
Daylight saving time (DST) is observed in Alta Sierra during 2018, starting in the spring on March 11, lasting 7.8 months, and ending in the fall on November 4.
Sunrise & Sunset with Twilight and Daylight Saving Time
We base the humidity comfort level on the dew point, as it determines whether perspiration will evaporate from the skin, thereby cooling the body. Lower dew points feel drier and higher dew points feel more humid. Unlike temperature, which typically varies significantly between night and day, dew point tends to change more slowly, so while the temperature may drop at night, a muggy day is typically followed by a muggy night.
The perceived humidity level in Alta Sierra, as measured by the percentage of time in which the humidity comfort level is muggy, oppressive, or miserable, does not vary significantly over the course of the year, remaining a virtually constant 0% throughout.
Humidity Comfort Levels
dry 55°F comfortable 60°F humid 65°F muggy 70°F oppressive 75°F miserable
This section discusses the wide-area hourly average wind vector (speed and direction) at 10 meters above the ground. The wind experienced at any given location is highly dependent on local topography and other factors, and instantaneous wind speed and direction vary more widely than hourly averages.The average hourly wind speed in Alta Sierra does not vary significantly over the course of the year, remaining within 0.5 miles per hour of 5.7 miles per hour throughout.
Average Wind Speed
The predominant average hourly wind direction in Alta Sierra varies throughout the year.
The wind is most often from the south for 7.6 months, from February 8 to September 27, with a peak percentage of 56% on August 12. The wind is most often from the east for 4.3 months, from September 27 to February 8, with a peak percentage of 48% on January 1.
Best Time of Year to Visit
To characterize how pleasant the weather is in Alta Sierra throughout the year, we compute two travel scores.
The tourism score favors clear, rainless days with perceived temperatures between 65°F and 80°F. Based on this score, the best time of year to visit Alta Sierra for general outdoor tourist activities is from mid June to mid September, with a peak score in the first week of August.
The beach/pool score favors clear, rainless days with perceived temperatures between 75°F and 90°F. Based on this score, the best time of year to visit Alta Sierra for hot-weather activities is from early July to mid August, with a peak score in the last week of July.
For each hour between 8:00 AM and 9:00 PM of each day in the analysis period (1980 to 2016), independent scores are computed for perceived temperature, cloud cover, and total precipitation. Those scores are combined into a single hourly composite score, which is then aggregated into days, averaged over all the years in the analysis period, and smoothed.
Our cloud cover score is 10 for fully clear skies, falling linearly to 9 for mostly clear skies, and to 1 for fully overcast skies.
Our precipitation score, which is based on the three-hour precipitation centered on the hour in question, is 10 for no precipitation, falling linearly to 9 for trace precipitation, and to 0 for 0.04 inches of precipitation or more.
Our tourism temperature score is 0 for perceived temperatures below 50°F, rising linearly to 9 for 65°F, to 10 for 75°F, falling linearly to 9 for 80°F, and to 1 for 90°F or hotter.
Our beach/pool temperature score is 0 for perceived temperatures below 65°F, rising linearly to 9 for 75°F, to 10 for 82°F, falling linearly to 9 for 90°F, and to 1 for 100°F or hotter.
Definitions of the growing season vary throughout the world, but for the purposes of this report, we define it as the longest continuous period of non-freezing temperatures (≥ 32°F) in the year (the calendar year in the Northern Hemisphere, or from July 1 until June 30 in the Southern Hemisphere).
The growing season in Alta Sierra typically lasts for 10 months (305 days), from around February 15 to around December 18, rarely starting after April 5, or ending before November 20.
Time Spent in Various Temperature Bands and the Growing Season
frigid 15°F freezing 32°F very cold 45°F cold 55°F cool 65°F comfortable 75°F warm 85°F hot 95°F sweltering
Growing degree days are a measure of yearly heat accumulation used to predict plant and animal development, and defined as the integral of warmth above a base temperature, discarding any excess above a maximum temperature. In this report, we use a base of 50°F and a cap of 86°F.
Based on growing degree days alone, the first spring blooms in Alta Sierra should appear around March 1, only rarely appearing before February 11 or after March 22.
Growing Degree Days
This section discusses the total daily incident shortwave solar energy reaching the surface of the ground over a wide area, taking full account of seasonal variations in the length of the day, the elevation of the Sun above the horizon, and absorption by clouds and other atmospheric constituents. Shortwave radiation includes visible light and ultraviolet radiation.
The average daily incident shortwave solar energy experiences extreme seasonal variation over the course of the year.
The brighter period of the year lasts for 3.4 months, from May 12 to August 24, with an average daily incident shortwave energy per square meter above 7.2 kWh. The brightest day of the year is July 1, with an average of 8.5 kWh.
The darker period of the year lasts for 3.6 months, from November 2 to February 20, with an average daily incident shortwave energy per square meter below 3.3 kWh. The darkest day of the year is December 20, with an average of 2.0 kWh.
Average Daily Incident Shortwave Solar Energy
For the purposes of this report, the geographical coordinates of Alta Sierra are 39.142 deg latitude, -121.054 deg longitude, and 2,119 ft elevation.
The topography within 2 miles of Alta Sierra contains very significant variations in elevation, with a maximum elevation change of 971 feet and an average elevation above sea level of 2,092 feet. Within 10 miles contains very significant variations in elevation (3,205 feet). Within 50 miles contains large variations in elevation (9,331 feet).
The area within 2 miles of Alta Sierra is covered by shrubs (93%), within 10 miles by shrubs (56%) and trees (24%), and within 50 miles by trees (42%) and cropland (19%).
This report illustrates the typical weather in Alta Sierra, based on a statistical analysis of historical hourly weather reports and model reconstructions from January 1, 1980 to December 31, 2016.
Temperature and Dew Point
There are 3 weather stations near enough to contribute to our estimation of the temperature and dew point in Alta Sierra.
For each station, the records are corrected for the elevation difference between that station and Alta Sierra according to the International Standard Atmosphere , and by the relative change present in the MERRA-2 satellite-era reanalysis between the two locations.
The estimated value at Alta Sierra is computed as the weighted average of the individual contributions from each station, with weights proportional to the inverse of the distance between Alta Sierra and a given station.
The stations contributing to this reconstruction are: Nevada County Air Park (38%, 10 kilometers, northeast); Auburn Municipal Airport (50%, 21 kilometers, south); and Beale Air Force Base (12%, 33 kilometers, west).
All data relating to the Sun's position (e.g., sunrise and sunset) are computed using astronomical formulas from the book, Astronomical Tables of the Sun, Moon and Planets , by Jean Meeus.
All other weather data, including cloud cover, precipitation, wind speed and direction, and solar flux, come from NASA's MERRA-2 Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis . This reanalysis combines a variety of wide-area measurements in a state-of-the-art global meteorological model to reconstruct the hourly history of weather throughout the world on a 50-kilometer grid.
Land Use data comes from the Global Land Cover SHARE database , published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Elevation data comes from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) , published by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Names, locations, and time zones of places and some airports come from the GeoNames Geographical Database .
Time zones for aiports and weather stations are provided by AskGeo.com .
Maps are © Esri, with data from National Geographic, Esri, DeLorme, NAVTEQ, UNEP-WCMC, USGS, NASA, ESA, METI, NRCAN, GEBCO, NOAA, and iPC.
The information on this site is provided as is, without any assurances as to its accuracy or suitability for any purpose. Weather data is prone to errors, outages, and other defects. We assume no responsibility for any decisions made on the basis of the content presented on this site.
We draw particular cautious attention to our reliance on the MERRA-2 model-based reconstructions for a number of important data series. While having the tremendous advantages of temporal and spatial completeness, these reconstructions: (1) are based on computer models that may have model-based errors, (2) are coarsely sampled on a 50 km grid and are therefore unable to reconstruct the local variations of many microclimates, and (3) have particular difficulty with the weather in some coastal areas, especially small islands.
We further caution that our travel scores are only as good as the data that underpin them, that weather conditions at any given location and time are unpredictable and variable, and that the definition of the scores reflects a particular set of preferences that may not agree with those of any particular reader.