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The overall climate is temperate, with notable exceptions. Alaska has Arctic tundra, while Hawaii and Florida are tropical. The Great Plains are dry, flat and grassy, turning into arid desert in the far West.

Seasons vary dramatically in the northern and mid-western major cities. In a single winter storm, as much as 2 feet (61 cm) of snow can fall, with bitterly cold temperatures. Summers are typically mild but very humid. However, temperatures over 100°F (38°C) sometimes invade the entire Midwest and Great Plains region now. Some areas in the northern plains can experience dangerously cold temperatures of -30°F (-34°C) during the winter. Temperatures below 0°F (-18°C) sometimes reach as far south as Kansas or even Oklahoma.

The climate of the South also varies, but with the extremes coming instead in "the long, hot summer". Humidity and high temperatures make warmer months in these states good for little but sipping iced tea and plunging into cool bodies of water. But from October through April the weather is glorious, and nuisance insects subside.

The Great Plains & Midwestern states also experience tornadoes from the late spring to the early fall, earlier in the south and later in the north. See the Tornado safety article for more information. States along the Atlantic coast and the Gulf of Mexico, may experience hurricanes. These monster storms frequently miss the the U.S. mainland, but if one is forecast to hit, do not take the situation lightly. Evacuations are often ordered for areas in the path of the storm and should be heeded.

The Rockies are very cold and snowy. Some regions see over 500 inches (1,200 cm) of snow in a season. Some of the world's most famous ski resorts are located in Colorado and Utah. Even during the summer, temperatures are cool in the mountains, and snow can fall nearly year-round.

The Southwestern deserts are extremely arid and hot during the summer, with summer temperatures exceeding 100°F (38°C) through most of the summer. This includes such cities as Las Vegas and Phoenix. Thunderstorms can be expected in the southwest frequently from July through September due to the summer monsoon that rises from Mexico. Winters in this region are mild, and snow is unusual. Average annual precipitation is less than 10 inches (25 cm).

Cool and damp weather is common in the northwest in areas such as in Seattle or Portland. Rain is most frequent in winter, and snow is rare along the coastal regions. The Pacific coast rarely sees snow and extremes in temperature are uncommon. Rain falls almost exclusively from late fall through early spring along the coast, except in Washington, where rain falls year-round.

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