Because of the many changes in topography, altitude and exposure to prevailing winds, the weather and climate of Venezuela are diverse. Climates range from drier alpine areas to humid tropical zones.
Seasons are marked by rainfall rather than temperature. Venezuela has a rainy season from May through November and a dry season from December through April, which are referred to as winter and summer, respectively.
Venezuela has four temperature zones; these are affected mostly by altitude. The tropical zone lies below 800 meters, the temperate zone between 800 and 2,000 meters, a cool zone between 2,000 and 3,000 meters, and high mountain areas above 3,000 meters.
Precipitation also varies considerably throughout the country, depending on the topography. In lowland regions, annual rainfall ranges from around 400 to 1,000 millimeters. In mountainous regions, rainfall depends upon the shelter from the mountain slopes, where regions most exposed to the northeast trade winds receive the most rain. The highest mountain areas experience snowfall year-round.
Many of Venezuela's cities lie in the temperate zone, with average temperatures ranging from 12 to 25 degrees C. Among these cities are the country's capital, Caracas, which receives an annual rainfall of 750 mm.
Areas that receive heavy rainfall are susceptible to flooding. In 1993, Tropical Storm Bret swept through Venezuela, causing mudslides that destroyed 10,000 homes and took 173 lives.