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Overall, Ethiopia has a tropical monsoon climate.  The interior plateaux, usually above 2,400 meters in elevation, experience warmer days and cold nights.  During most months, frost forms at night and snow falls in the mountains.

The hot zone consists of areas of low elevation which are very hot year round and humid in the tropical valleys and in the East of the country.  The region of Ethiopia closest to the coast experiences a monsoon season with heavy rains from June to September.

The climate is temperate on the plateau and hot in the lowlands.  At Addis Ababa, which ranges from 2,200 to 2,600 meters (7,000 ft.-8,500 ft.), maximum temperature is 26°C (80°F) and minimum 4°C (40°F).  The weather is usually sunny and dry with the short (belg) rains occurring February-April and the big (meher) rains beginning in mid-June and ending in mid-September.

Ethiopia's elevation and geographic location produce three broad ecological and climatic zones: the ‘Kolla' or hot lowlands, found below approximately 1,000m ASL, with both tropical and arid conditions and daytime temperatures ranging from 27° to 50°C (81°–122°F); the ‘Weyna Dega' between 1000-1500 m ASL and the ‘Dega' or cool temperate highlands between 1500 and 3000 m ASL.  Mean annual temperatures range from 10°-16°C in the Dega, 16°-29°C in the Weyna Dega and 23°-33°C in the ‘Kolla'.  In general, the highlands receive more rain than the lowlands with annual rainfalls of 500mm to over 2000mm for the former and 300mm to 700mm in the latter.  In addition, irregularity of rainfall is a characteristic of the climate in Ethiopia and the country is prone to recurrent droughts and famines.