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.
Southern North-West Frontier Province
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 is unpredictable.