The climate of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa varies
immensely for a region of its size, most of the many
climate types found in Pakistan.
North Region (Chitral District)
The north, comprising Chitral District, has a typically
continental steppe climate, with average annual precipitation
ranging from 100mm per year in the far north to 23
inches in Drosh in the south. Most of this precipitation
from frontal cloud bands during the winter has heavy
thunderstorms in the spring. Chitral's average 16.5
inches of rainfall per year, 350 mm falls from December
to May. At high elevations in the Hindukush, snowfall
can be much heavier than this and consequently large
glaciers are a prominent feature of the landscape.
Snow also cuts off even Chitral town from the outside
world for most of the year. Temperatures in the valleys
vary from 30 °C (86 °F) in July to as low
as 0 °C (32 °F) in January.
South Region (Dir, Swat and Hazara)
In south, in the districts of Dir, Swat and Hazara
Division, the climate becomes more typical of the
Indian subcontinent, although a considerable proportion
of the annual precipitation still comes from frontal
cloud bands during the winter months.
The combination of a short but powerful summer monsoon
with frequent winter cloud bands gives a bimodal rainfall
regime in central parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Dir and Hazara districts are some of the wettest places
in Pakistan: annual rainfall at Dir averages 58 inches,
of which 400 mm falls during the summer monsoon from
July to September and twice that amount during the
winter rainy season from December to April. At Abbottabad
further east, the annual rainfall averages about 47
inches, but as much as 25 inches falls during the
south-west monsoon. In Swat, rather more sheltered,
the annual rainfall averages around 33 inches, with
about 17 inches expected between June and September.
A similar climate to that of Dir, though drier, prevails
in a small area around Parachinar in the Federally
Administered Tribal Areas.
In all areas October and November are the driest months
with rainfalls generally under 30 mm per month except
in the most exposed areas.
Temperatures in this region are somewhat warmer than
in Chitral, and even at 1,200 metres (3,900 ft) in
Abbottabad the heat and humidity can be oppressive
during the monsoon season. In winter, most of Swat
receives significant snowfall, but in Hazara temperatures
usually are around 41 °F.
This region, south of the Himalaya/Hindukush foothills,
has the typically hot and dry climate of much of Pakistan.
Temperatures in summer are quite oppressively hot,
and in the south around Mardan temperatures of 45
°C (113 °F) are not uncommon, whilst in Peshawar
40 °C (104 °F) is par for the course in summer.
In winter, however, this region is both warmer and
generally drier than the rest of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,
with temperatures being around 17 °C (62 °F)
in Peshawar and over 20 °C (68 °F) in the
extreme south of the province. Nights, however, can
still be quite cold during the winter.
Southern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa experiences little (and
very erratic) monsoonal rain, with Peshawar and Dera
Ismail Khan both averaging around 4.5 inches of rain
in July and August and almost nothing in June or September.
Moreover, in many years no summer rain of significance
occurs. In winter, rainfall usually peaks in March
but Peshawar averages less than 10 inches between
December and May and Dera Ismail Khan less than 4.5
inches. On certain mountain slopes such as around
Kohat, winter rainfall may predominate, though this