Burning Man weather has temps in 90s, 10% chance of thunderstorms

Photo of Amy Graff
Daytime highs in the Black Rock Desert of Gerlach, Nev., will be in the 90s during the annual Burning Man festival, the National Weather Service said.

Daytime highs in the Black Rock Desert of Gerlach, Nev., will be in the 90s during the annual Burning Man festival, the National Weather Service said.

Sidney Erthal / Burning Man

For those planning to spend next week scooting around in art cars and building elaborate sculptures at the annual Burning Man festival, the weather forecast is generally merciful, when you consider that the event takes place in Nevada's Black Rock Desert, a land of great extremes known for dust storms and baking heat.

As of Friday, there was no indication of a significant chance for a major dust storm or thunderstorm during the first six days of the event, Aug. 28 to Sept. 1, but keep in mind that the forecast can change, according to the National Weather Service. The agency hasn't issued its forecast for Sept. 2 to 5, the last days of the event. It's best to be prepared for hot, cold, dusty and even wet weather, no matter what the forecast is.

Before the event starts — and while some are setting up the event — there is a chance for dust storms on Friday, Aug. 26, and Saturday, Aug. 27, with afternoon winds up to 35 mph, the weather service said. The agency also issued a fire watch for Saturday, due to the winds and dry conditions. 

By the time the gates to Black Rock City open on Sunday, winds are expected to be lighter, with no significant winds in the first half of the week through Wednesday, said Mark Deutschendorf, a forecaster with the weather service's Reno office.

There is a suggestions that winds could return next Thursday and Friday, but Deutschendorf said that it's difficult to nail down the wind forecast beyond Wednesday — and nothing is set in stone. 

Nevada's northeastern corner has seen hot daytime temperatures in recent days, but the mercury is expected to drop this weekend. The Saturday afternoon high is forecast to be 90 degrees, while Sunday's afternoon high will be 86 degrees. Daytime temperatures will slowly inch up next week, with the afternoon high forecast to hit 91 degrees on Monday, 94 on Tuesday and 96 on Wednesday and Thursday, according to the weather service. Overnight lows are expected to be in the low to high 50s — bring a jacket.

To beat the afternoon heat, Deutschendorf recommended applying sunscreen, wearing a hat, seeking out shade in the middle of the day and drinking lots of water.

The wild card in the forecast as of Friday was a slight chance for thunderstorms — only 10% — on Monday.

"There is a low pressure system moving through," Deutschendorf said. "If it sets up over the right spot, it could kick up some showers. It's a slight chance, so at the moment our official forecast is still calling for dry conditions."

The forecast for thunderstorms could shift in coming days: Get the latest information from the weather service website.

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