Climate of Dover, New Hampshire

Dover, New Hampshire, located in the southeastern part of the state, experiences a humid continental climate marked by four distinct seasons, with cold winters and warm summers. The city’s climate is influenced by its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and the surrounding topography. To gain a comprehensive understanding of Dover’s climate, it’s essential to explore temperature patterns, precipitation trends, and the broader impact of the environment on the community.

Geographical Overview:

Dover is situated in Strafford County, New Hampshire, along the Cocheco River. The city is known for its historical significance, with a well-preserved downtown area featuring colonial-era architecture. The landscape around Dover includes a mix of urban and suburban developments, as well as natural areas and waterways.

Climate Classification:

Dover falls under the humid continental climate category according to the K√∂ppen climate classification system. This classification is characterized by four distinct seasons, with cold winters and warm summers. The city’s location in the northeastern United States and its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean contribute to temperature variations and seasonal changes.

Temperature Patterns:

Dover experiences a range of temperatures throughout the year, with each season bringing its own distinct weather patterns. Winters are cold, with average high temperatures ranging from the mid-20s to the low 30s Fahrenheit. January is typically the coldest month, and temperatures often drop below freezing, leading to the presence of snow and ice. Winter weather events, including snowstorms, are common in Dover.

Summers in Dover are warm, with average high temperatures ranging from the mid-70s to the low 80s Fahrenheit. July is usually the warmest month, and residents experience relatively mild humidity levels compared to more southern locations. The proximity to the Atlantic Ocean can moderate summer temperatures, providing a more comfortable climate during the warmer months.

Spring and fall serve as transitional seasons, featuring milder temperatures and gradual shifts between the temperature extremes of summer and winter. These seasons provide a more moderate climate, making them popular for outdoor activities and enjoying the changing foliage.

Precipitation and Snowfall:

Dover experiences a moderate amount of precipitation throughout the year, with an average annual rainfall of around 45 inches. The distribution of precipitation is relatively evenly spread across the seasons, with slightly higher amounts during the warmer months. Rainfall events are frequent, and the city may experience occasional thunderstorms during the spring and summer.

The city receives an average of approximately 50 inches of snow annually, with the winter months of December through February being the primary period for snow accumulation. While not as extreme as some northern regions, the presence of snow is a familiar aspect of winter in Dover. Snowfall events can contribute to the winter landscape and may impact daily life, leading to snow removal efforts and winter sports activities.

Population Overview (as of 2019):

According to CITIESPLUSTOWNS.COM, Dover had a population of approximately 32,443 residents. The city’s population reflects a mix of demographics, including families, professionals, and individuals from various cultural backgrounds. Dover’s status as a historic city with a vibrant community contributes to its economic and cultural ties with neighboring communities.

The population of Dover has experienced steady growth over the years, influenced by factors such as the city’s historical charm, educational opportunities, and its proximity to the coast. Dover’s location within the greater metropolitan area, which includes cities like Portsmouth and Rochester, contributes to its connectivity and economic interactions.

Economic Landscape and Historical Significance:

Dover’s economic landscape is diverse, with sectors such as healthcare, education, manufacturing, and technology playing significant roles. The city’s historic downtown area, with its well-preserved colonial architecture, contributes to its cultural richness and serves as a hub for local businesses.

Healthcare facilities, including Wentworth-Douglass Hospital, play a vital role in the local economy, providing medical services to residents of Dover and the surrounding areas. Educational institutions, including the University of New Hampshire and Great Bay Community College, contribute to the city’s academic landscape and provide opportunities for residents to pursue higher education.

The historical significance of Dover is evident in sites such as the Woodman Institute Museum, which showcases the city’s heritage and cultural artifacts. Dover’s commitment to preserving its historical sites, coupled with its focus on economic development, enhances the city’s appeal to residents and visitors alike.

Cultural and Recreational Opportunities:

Dover offers a variety of cultural and recreational opportunities for residents and visitors. The city’s downtown area features a mix of shops, restaurants, and cultural venues, creating a vibrant atmosphere for residents and visitors to explore. The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire and the Henry Law Park are popular destinations for families and individuals seeking cultural and recreational experiences.

Recreational opportunities abound, with parks, trails, and the Cocheco River providing spaces for outdoor activities. The Bellamy River Wildlife Management Area, located nearby, offers opportunities for hiking, birdwatching, and enjoying nature. Dover’s commitment to providing recreational amenities enhances the quality of life for residents and contributes to the city’s sense of community.

Environmental Considerations and Sustainability:

Dover recognizes the importance of environmental considerations and sustainability. Efforts to enhance environmental awareness, promote green initiatives, and address issues such as waste reduction contribute to the city’s commitment to sustainability. The preservation of natural areas, including riverfront spaces and parks, underscores Dover’s dedication to maintaining a balance between development and environmental conservation.

The city’s location along the Cocheco River and its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean highlight the importance of water conservation and responsible environmental practices. As Dover continues to grow, the emphasis on sustainability and ecological stewardship will play a crucial role in shaping the city’s future.

Transportation and Connectivity:

Dover’s transportation infrastructure contributes to its connectivity within the region. Major highways, including the Spaulding Turnpike (Route 16) and Route 9, provide convenient access for commuters and travelers. The city’s strategic location within the greater metropolitan area facilitates easy access to neighboring communities, including Portsmouth, Rochester, and Durham.

Public transportation options, including buses and rail services, enhance connectivity within the region. The Amtrak Downeaster rail service connects Dover to Boston and other communities along the route, providing an alternative mode of transportation for residents and visitors.


Dover, New Hampshire, with its humid continental climate, is a city shaped by its historical charm, economic diversity, and commitment to sustainability. The distinct seasons, with cold winters and warm summers, contribute to the city’s character and provide a backdrop for a range of activities throughout the year.

As Dover continues to evolve, its climate will remain a key factor in shaping the lifestyle, economic opportunities, and cultural vibrancy of the community. The city’s dedication to preserving its historical sites, promoting economic development, and fostering environmental stewardship underscores Dover’s commitment to creating a dynamic and livable urban environment in the southeastern part of the Granite State.

Dover, New Hampshire