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Climate - Northern Mariana Islands

Temperature, rainfall, prevailing weather conditions, when to go, what to pack

United States version (°F - inches - feet). See also the metric version (°C - mm - meters)

Flag - Northern Mariana Islands

Map - Northern Mariana Islands

The climate of the Northern Mariana Islands, U.S. territory in the Pacific Ocean, is tropical, hot and humid throughout the year, with a relatively cool and dry season from December to June, and a warmer and rainy season from July to November.
The temperatures are stable throughout the year, especially in the southern islands (which are the only inhabited ones), where the daytime average goes from 82/84 °F in the coolest period, to 86/88 °F in the warmest. The heat is sultry but tempered by the trade winds.
Here are the average temperatures of the capital Saipan.
Saipan average temperatures
Saipan J F M A M J J A S O N D
Min (°F) 75 73 75 77 77 79 77 77 77 77 77 77
Max (°F) 82 82 84 86 86 88 86 86 86 86 86 84

Rainfall is abundant, so that it reaches 95 inches per year in the southernmost island (Rota), and 80 inches in Saipan and Tinian. The wettest months are August, September and October, with more than 10 inches per month, while in the least rainy months, from February to May, from 2.8 to 4 in of rain per month fall.
Here is the average precipitation in Saipan.
Average precipitation Saipan
Saipan J F M A M J J A S O N D Year
Prec. (in) 4.3 2.9 3.2 4.0 3.7 5.0 9.0 11.1 12.8 11.2 7.1 4.8 79.2
Days 22 19 19 18 19 19 21 23 21 22 21 22 246

The other islands, located north of the three permanently inhabited ones, are gradually cooler in winter, and generally drier throughout the year, although along the windward slopes, exposed to the north-east trade winds (being volcanic islands, with some elevations in the interior), the rains may become locally more abundant.
The amount of sunshine is never excellent, because there's always the chance to see some cloudiness, which can develop and lead to thunderstorms, but it's never bad either, because even in the rainiest months, between showers, the sun comes out.
The Northern Mariana Islands are located in the path of typhoons, the tropical cyclones of south-east Asia, towards which they normally move after passing over the islands. The period in which they typically occur is from mid-May to mid-November, although at times they have passed at other periods, in April (typhoon Isa in 1997, Kong-rey in 2007), December (Pongsona in 2002), and even January (Roy in 1988).


The sea temperature is warm enough for swimming all year round: it drops to 81 °F in February and March.
Sea temperature Saipan
Saipan J F M A M J J A S O N D
Sea (°F) 82 81 81 82 82 84 84 84 84 84 84 82

When to go

The best time to visit the Northern Marianas runs from January to April, being the least warm and rainy, and even outside the typhoon season. February and March are the best months of all.
The sea is warm all year round.

What to pack

All year round, light clothes, of natural fibers, sun hat, a scarf for the breeze, a light sweatshirt for the evening, light raincoat or umbrella.
For the reef, equipment for snorkeling, water shoes or rubber soled shoes.

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Metric version (°C)
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