High Desert Climate
Winters are fairly cold in the desert. The average highest temperature is in the upper 50s Fahrenheit. The average lowest temperature is near 30 degrees Fahrenheit (though it can drop down to about 5 or 10 degrees).
Elevations range from 2,310 to 3,110 feet.
Much of the rain comes in winter. Irrigation is necessary for cultivated crops. Precipitation ranges from 4 to 9 inches annually.
Strong prevailing winds blow from the west and are the strongest during spring. The vegetation is mainly annual forbs, grasses and scattered desert shrubs, such as creosotebush, Mormon tea, Joshua tree, saltbrush, rabbitbush and sagebush.
The growing season* is approximately 240 days. The desert receives around 90 percent of possible sunshine throughout the year. The monthly average relative humidity ranges from 30 to 70 percent, and about 75% of evapotranspiration occurs in the months of May through October.
To get a better idea of the frost-free period (growing season) in the High Desert, click here to view the daily minimum air temperature data (from 2006 to 2011) for Palmdale, California.
The success of dryland crops depends on winter rainfall, which varies from year to year.
*number of days between the last freezing temperature in spring and the first freezing temperature in fall.