Climate and weather in Kyrgyzstan
The climate in Kyrgyzstan is generally sunny, averaging only about 70 days of rain a year. The climate is continental, because Kyrgyzstan is located so far from any ocean. Though the summers in the cities can get quite hot, the mountains remain colder even in the hottest months. Winters are cold and snowy everywhere, especially at higher elevations. Days tend to be significantly warmer than nights, but the general climate of Kyrgyzstan is quite pleasant, with four defined seasons.
In Bishkek, winter is mostly sunny, with occasional heavy fog and snowstorms. The average daily high in winter reaches 3° C (37.4° F). Spring is generally mild, with the first hot days coming in May and June. During the summer, the temperature averages 31° C (87.8° F), though temperatures can soar even higher, as high as 45° C (113° F). Many places have air conditioning, but certainly not all. In fall, all the leaves turn bright colors, and rainy days are more common. Spring and fall tend to be shorter than winter and summer.
Issyk-Kul averages slightly cooler temperatures than Bishkek, making it popular during the hot summer months. During the summer tourist season, the average high temperature is 19° C (66° F), making for comfortable swimming but the nights can be cold. In the winter, the temperature drops to an average of -10° C (14° F), and snow is common. There are plenty of ski bases and opportunities for winter sports at Issyk-Kul, since the temperatures are chilly but not unbearably cold.
At higher altitudes, the temperature never reaches very high, and snow is possible year round. Summers can be pleasant, with July averaging 17° C (63° F) in Naryn. Even so, snow can fall at any time and the nights can be quite cold, so visitors are advised to bring warm clothing. Some regions have the most severe winter weather of Kyrgyzstan’s climate, with temperatures dropping as low as -27° C (-16.6° F), and sometimes even lower. Deep snow makes many roads impassable, so many destinations can only be reached in the summer months. The weather in the mountains at any time can be quite unpredictable, with sudden changes that can leave unprepared travelers cold and wet, or even in serious danger.
Osh tends to be warmer than the northern half of Kyrgyzstan, with temperatures routinely well above 30° C (86° F) in the summer, though nights are cooler. Winter is generally cold, with an average temperature around freezing, and most of the rain falling in the winter and spring. Again, air conditioning can be found, but not everywhere, though heating is very common for the winter.