Chances are, if you live in the continental United States, in an area away from the coasts, you live in a continental climate. All continental climates occur in the northern hemisphere, between the arctic zones and the subtropical regions.
There are three types of continental climates: warm summer, cool summer and subarctic climates.
Warm summer climates have warm, rainy, humid summers. If you live in the Midwest, you probably experience this type of summer. Cool summer climates have harsh, cold winters and mild, cool summers. Idaho has a cool summer climate, as do areas like New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont. Subarctic climates have very long, dark winters and short summers. Alaska has a subarctic climate.
Fun Facts about Continental Climate
- Continental climates experience the most extreme weather changes. These are also the only areas where leaves change color in the fall.
- Thunderstorms, tornadoes, hail and other weather phenomenon occur here.
- If you live in a continental climate, you probably own a wardrobe that contains everything from shorts and flip flops to snow suits and gloves.
- In continental climates, you can swim in a lake in the summer and skate on it in the winter.
- People living in continental climates prepare for the seasonal changes. They store food, wood or fuel for the winter. They keep extra clothing and blankets on hand. In summer, they run fans and open screened windows.
Continental Climate Vocabulary
- Coast: area near an ocean
- Harsh: very cold, severe
- Wardrobe: clothing supply
- Extreme: intense, widely varied
Learn More All about Continental Climate
Check out this cool video about Continental Climate for kids:
A video presentation of Winter in Minneapolis Minnesota – an example of a continental climate.
Continental Climate Q&A
Question: Is it hard to live in an area with a continental climate?
Answer: People who live in these climates have adjusted to them. It’s hard to come from a mild climate to a continental climate. When Napoleon Bonaparte’s troops retreated from Russia in 1812, thousands of them died because they were accustomed to the warm Mediterranean climate of France.
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