San Diego Beaches Weather
Hurricane in San Diego
The 1858 San Diego hurricane ( pdf) was a very rare California hurricane. It is the only known tropical cyclone to impact California and originated in the eastern Pacific making landfall Oct. 2 with 85 mph sustained winds. In San Diego there was heavy rain and great property damage with many homes losing their roofs. Trees were uprooted and fences were destroyed. Three schooners, the Plutus, the Lovely Flora, and the X.L. were blown ashore.
You can get a weather report almost anywhere these days. To supplement
daily weather reports, we've decided to share our 30 years
of experience with San Diego weather. Hopefully you'll get
an idea of what type of weather to expect when traveling to San
may have heard that San Diego has the best weather in the U.S.,
if not the world. That is absolutely true much of the year. But
what if you travel here and the weather is overcast or wet?
We'll fill you in on what to expect each season.
December through March
start with December through March when the average monthly rainfall
is 1.4 to 1.9 inches with 5 to 7 wet days per month. Wet days are
usually grouped together. The average daily high temperature is
66 degrees (F) and low is 50 degrees (F).
What we've seen over the years is that storms tend to come
through about once a week during these months. There are definite
exceptions, especially during El Nino years when it can be wet and
stormy for a week or more at a time. The wet weather can be intense,
with wind and cool rain. However, rain usually doesn't last
long — 12 to 24 hours at the most. And the weather before
and after the rainy periods can be remarkably pleasant.
You will find many women wearing boots and shoes during this time of the year. Flip flops and sandals get put away for womens boots and warmer shoes for your feet in the colder parts of the year in San Diego.
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If you're planning on spending a week
or more in San Diego during these months, plan for some rainy days.
Remember, during some rainy periods, you can still enjoy the outdoors
— just dress appropriately. We suggest packing a light- to
medium-weight jacket or parka that is water and wind resistant (no
insulation). Light- to medium-weight sweaters and fleece are good
layers beneath your jacket. Many people wear long pants during these
months. However, bring your shorts and T-shirts; some days are just
right for the lighter clothing.
are typical weather patterns from December to March, but there are
some extremes that may surprise you. Most years will see a stretch
of 1 to 2 weeks of near-perfect weather during this period, usually
associated with Santa Ana conditions (high pressure over Utah or
the Four Corners area). Daytime highs of 75 to 80 degrees are not
uncommon. The beach is very inviting but the water is still cold
— 60 degrees (F) or less. Near the end of March, warm weather
is more common.
San Diego Tornado
On April 6, 1926, an F2 tornado (113 to 157 mph winds) was recorded in San Diego County that injured 8 people.
Now for the
cold. We've experienced a daytime high of 45 degrees (F) in
downtown San Diego with a wind chill of less than 32 degrees (F)!
However, this is uncommon. Frost is also uncommon downtown or at
the beaches but not inland.
If the jet stream locks in a southerly pattern, San Diego can see
extended periods of wet, cool, windy weather. This happens during
most years at least once and lasts 1or 2, weeks straight, hopefully
not during your vacation! If it does happen, remember, there are
breaks between storms when the weather is very pleasant. Time your
activities accordingly. San Diego has never recorded measurable
snowfall but flurries have been reported inland and hail is common.
In summary, expect mild, pleasant weather,
but don't be surprised to see rain or cool weather. Most of
all, be prepared for it.
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April through June
combined rainfall for April, May, and June is only 1.1 inches with
most occuring the first week or two of April. Average daily highs
are 70 degrees (F); lows, 55 degrees (F). March and April are windy,
but not uncomfortably so; they're great months to fly kites
at Mission Bay or the beaches. Consider yourself fortunate if you
see any rainfall during this period, especially May and June.
weather is some of San Diego's best.! Daytime highs of 70 to 75
degrees are not uncommon, with a near-perfect relative humidity
of 60 percent and bright blue skies. The end of April ushers in
the beginning of the night-and-morning-low-clouds-and-fog period,
which peaks mid to late May and lasts through June. Locals refer
to this as the "June gloom," when the coast can stay
overcast and foggy for weeks. Many beachgoers have been surprised
and disappointed during these months. Often, the clouds and fog
will clear up several miles inland but not at the beach. However,
most days the beaches receive some sun, usually in the afternoon
San Diego Rainfall Records
The wettest year was 1941 with 24.93 inches (63.3 cm) and the driest year was 1953 with 3.23 inches (8.2 cm). The most rainfall in one month was 9.09 inches (23.1 cm) in January 1993. The most rainfall in 24 hours was 3.23 inches (8.2 cm) on April 5, 1926.
If you're staying at the beach during
this period, don't be surprised to see fog and low clouds.
Even though the temperatures are mild, it can still feel chilly.
We recommend a light, wind-resistant jacket and/or mid- to heavy-weight
sweatshirts. Shorts are fine most days with a sweatshirt. Travelers
might consider planning inland activities during the morning and
heading to the beach for the afternoon.
The only extreme weather worth noting during
these months is extended periods of fog or sunshine. We've
seen 2- to 3-week stretches of no sunshine and 2- to 3-week stretches
with no fog or clouds. It's best to expect something in between.
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July through October
Now for the best weather of the year: July
through October. Average daily high temperatures range from 73 to
78 degrees (F), with low temperatures of 60 to 65 degrees (F). Rainfall
is almost nonexistent. There's not much else to say but "enjoy".
The sun is out, the water is warm, and the beach is the place to
Temperatures in September and October can
be unusually warm — sometimes as high as the 90s — but
this is rare. You still might see fog or clouds in the morning but
expect early burn-off.
That leaves us with November, a transition
month between summer and winter. Some years, you might see all warm
sunny days; others, you may see significant rainfall. We suggest
planning on a combination of the two.
Best San Diego Weather Links
Ocean Water Temperature Chart
Diego National Weather Service
By John Rogers, Senior Editor of Enlightened
was born and raised in San Diego. He spends much of his free time
exploring the beaches and open spaces of California, especially
those described in this site.
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