The highest range of the many mountain ranges that are arranged en echelon in the Great Basin between the Sierra Nevada and the Wasatch Mountains is the White Mountains, situated along the California-Nevada border about 225 mi (362 km) east of the Pacific Coast. Climatically, this location is transitional between the moderating maritime influence of the Pacific Ocean and the more extreme continental influence of interior North America. The very large variation in elevation within the range, from 4,000–5,000 ft (1,200–1,500 m) at the base to 14,246 ft (4,343 m) at the summit, results in rapid and significant changes in temperature and precipitation within short horizontal distances. Any air mass reaching the White Mountains must pass over an assemblage of other ranges that vary in width and altitude. By far the most important of these mountain barriers is the equally high Sierra Nevada, lying immediately to the west, which, by inducing air to rise, clouds to form, and precipitation to fall, intercepts some of the moisture from Pacific storms in the winter half of the year. To the north, east, and south are a series of lower ranges that have lesser climatic influence. Topographically, the least impeded avenue of approach for an air mass is from the southeast, but significant movement of air from this direction is uncommon. When it does occur, normally in July or August, the result may be spectacular thunderstorms with high precipitation intensities.