The climate varies from the Mediterranean type in the west to extremely arid desert conditions in the east. The coastal regions have hot summers and mild winters; in the mountains, summer heat is moderated according to elevation and the winters are much more severe.
The steppe and desert areas have extremely hot, arid summers and greatly varying winter temperatures ranging from 21° C (70° F ) to below freezing. Average temperatures for Damascus range from about 21° to 43° C (70–109° F ) in August and from about –4° to 16° C (25–61° F ) in January. Rainfall averages about 75 cm (30 in) on the coast, around 125 cm (50 in) in some mountain areas, and less than 25 cm (10 in) in the eastern three-fifths of the country. In dry years, rainfall may be reduced by half.