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Climate & Weather in San Diego

The weather and climate in San Diego make this southern California city a wonderful place to visit. Because the metropolitan area is located on the coast, the seasons are quite moderate. Though the inland mountains are snowcapped during the winter, snow and ice are very rare events in San Diego, only occurring once every few decades or so. Vacationers who are heading to the area during the cooler months can expect moderate temperatures, gentle sea breezes, and a range of wonderful outdoor activities that the whole family can enjoy.

While the San Diego area itself is not a desert, it can be classified as a semiarid climate region. This generally means that the precipitation levels are below average when compared to most other cities in the United States. The average rainfall is around 12 inches, which is slightly above the amounts seen by Phoenix and Tucson, the classic desert cities of the Southwest. While the months of June, July, and August are generally rain-free, the winter months often see more traditional rainfall events, especially in El Nino years when cold fronts sweep down from the Pacific Northwest.

While San Diego is located quite far south, it rarely sees hurricanes. Cyclones that spin up in the tropical regions of the Eastern Pacific require warm water to sustain themselves, and the ocean temperatures off of the southern California coast are downright frigid when compared to the waters of the Western Atlantic or Gulf of Mexico. Though light bands of rain may come up from the south from time to time, tropical wind events are rare. It's been over a century since San Diego has been significantly affected by a hurricane.

From early fall to late winter, the region may also be affected by the Santa Ana winds. These are Eastward-blowing winds that burst into the area from the inland mountaintops and deserts. Because the air that accompanies these fronts is so dry, it tends to lower humidity levels drastically, which can kick up wildfires that are hard to put out. In fact, San Diego residents are well aware of the fire threat during this time of year and are on constant lookout for the Santa Anas.

The weather in San Diego is moderate and enjoyable. The winters are mild and the summers are just warm enough to allow for ocean and beach fun. The city is thus an excellent place to visit during most seasons of the year.

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