SAN DIEGO MICROCLIMATES


San Diego microclimate

Information on the San Diego County microclimates


What is a San Diego microclimate?

San Diego County is huge - covering an area of 4,225 square miles. It runs 65 miles from north to south and 86 miles from east to west. This vastness and the varied terrain creates a wide range in the San Diego weather as you move around the county. These different local weather conditions are known as the San Diego microclimates.
 

What causes the microclimates in San Diego?

The official San Diego weather forecast and weather statistics are for the San Diego International Airport, which is located on the coast. As you go inland, San Diego's climate changes quickly due to the topography of the land.
 
The general rule is that rainfall increases at the higher elevations and as you move inland from the coast. Also, North San Diego County gets more rain than South San Diego County. The San Diego weather radar map and the San Diego weather satellite image will show you the location of any clouds, rain or other precipitation in the San Diego microclimates.
 

More San Diego microclimate factors

Another characteristic of San Diego's microclimates is that the inland areas experience larger temperature changes than the coast. Inland summer temperatures often exceed 90 degrees and winter temperatures may fall below freezing at night. In contrast, summer temperatures at the coast rarely go above 80 degrees and almost never go below 45 degrees in the winter.


San Diego has four distinct microclimates

As you can see, San Diego has a variety of weather conditions. And in less than an hours' drive, you can experience all four different San Diego microclimates - coastal, inland valleys, mountains and desert. Some residents enjoy the best of all worlds by spending their summers at the coast and their winters in the desert.
 
Coastal - This San Diego microclimate is characterized as moderate with little temperature change and generally light breezes. Pleasant summer days cool down in the evenings to mild sweater weather. Some early morning cloudiness and fog can occur in the San Diego coastal microclimate, mostly in the spring and early summer.
 
The low clouds may extend inland over the coastal valleys and foothills, but usually dissipate by mid-morning. Afternoons in the coastal microclimate are usually clear until late in the day when the marine layer may roll in.
 
Inland Valleys - As you move inland from the coast, the daytime temperature goes up and the nighttime temperature goes down. Summer months in the San Diego inland valley microclimate can get very hot. On average you can predict that the temperature will increase by almost one degree for every mile that you go inland.
 
In the winter months the inland valley microclimate is quite a bit cooler at night than the San Diego coastal microclimate and it may experience occasional frost. Isolated afternoon thunder storms can pop up during the hottest part of the summer. The San Diego inland valley microclimate gets more rain from the winter storms than the coastal microclimate.
 
Mountains - This San Diego microclimate is typical of mountain areas, where the summer nights are cool and the days are warm with occasional afternoon thundershowers. The winters can be cold with occasional snow accumulation that ranges from a trace to 6". It doesn't last long and usually melts away within days.
 
A lot more precipitation falls in the San Diego mountain microclimate (30" per year) than in the coastal microclimate (10.3" per year). You can track the rain and other precipitation by looking at the San Diego weather radar map and the San Diego weather satellite image. Also, winds in the mountains can be quite gusty at times, particularly during Santa Ana conditions.
 
Desert - Like most desert climates, expect extremes with very hot summers and cooler winter nights. The mountains capture most of the rain, creating the arid desert landscape. Visitors flock to the desert in the spring to see the magnificent wild flowers, particularly following a wet winter in this San Diego microclimate.



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