Climate & Geography
The McCall area is characterized by mild summers and cold, snowy winters. The climate of McCall is influenced by the mountains, lakes, altitude and latitude. Because of the mountains, the town is spared from most of the bitter cold blasts from Canada, and warm Pacific winds sweep in to provide the upland continental climate that is characteristic of the area. Temperatures in the summer average 80 degrees (high) and 43 degrees (low) while the winter months bring average temperatures ranging from 30 degrees (high) to 13 degrees (low).
Valley County lies within the central portion of the Rocky Mountain Landform Province. The major parent material of the area is granite from the Idaho batholith. A small area in the northwestern county is underlain by basalt of the Columbia River formation. Slopes vary from flat river and lake bottomlands to rolling foothills and steep mountain slopes. Although all aspects are represented, most slopes face east and west. Elevations range from about 4,800 to 7,500 feet. The area is also rich with geothermal springs.
The average annual snowfall in McCall is 138 inches and over 300 inches on Brundage Mountain. At McCall’s altitude of 5,000 feet accumulation is typically less than 48 inches due to repeated settling and thawing. Brundage Mountain Ski Resort carries an average snowfall base of 96 inches at the summit altitude of 7,600 feet, and an average of 72 inches at the lodge level of 6,000 feet. Winter sports in the area generally begin in mid-November and continue through April.
McCall’s elevation is slightly over 5,000 feet and is surrounded by mountains which average 8,000-9,000 feet. A wide variety of beautiful flowers bloom profusely here with very little concern about pests or diseases. A growing season is defined as the period of time between the average date of the last 32°F temperature (freezing) in the spring, and the first 32°F temperature in the fall. The average growing season is 69 days, June 16 to August 24, with temperatures rarely reaching into the 90’s and nights cooling to the 40’s and 50’s. Serious vegetable gardeners find themselves challenged to provide protection for plants such as tomatoes which need long, warm seasons. In McCall, temperature and/or humidity can vary enough, due the influence of Payette Lake, to affect the growth of some plants.