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Climate - Geneva

Temperature, rainfall, prevailing weather conditions, when to go

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

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Geneva, where it is
The climate of Geneva is moderately continental, with cold winters and warm summers. The city is located at 1,300 feet above sea level, on the shores of the lake of the same name. The average temperature of January is 34 °F, that of July is 67 °F.
Here are the average temperatures.
Geneva-average-temperatures">Geneva average temperatures
Geneva J F M A M J J A S O N D
Min (°F) 28 30 34 39 46 52 55 55 50 45 36 30
Max (°F) 39 43 50 57 66 73 79 77 70 59 46 39

Precipitation amounts to about 37 inches per year, and is well distributed over the seasons: in the cold half of the year it's due to Atlantic depressions, while in summer, when Atlantic depressions get a little rarer, there are in addition afternoon thunderstorms.
Here is the average precipitation.
Average precipitation - Geneva
Geneva J F M A M J J A S O N D Year
Prec. (in) 3.1 3.1 3.1 2.6 3.0 3.5 2.6 3.1 3.1 3.0 3.5 3.3 37.2
Days 10 9 10 9 11 10 8 9 8 8 10 10 112

Winter, from December to February, is cold: the temperatures are often around freezing, and there are many gray days. Even wind is quite frequent, and there are noticeable temperature changes. In fact the city can be reached by Atlantic depressions, which bring a wet and rainy, though relatively mild, weather: in these cases the maximum temperatures can reach or exceed 50/54 °F; but the city can also be reached by cold air masses of Siberian origin, brought by a cold wind from the northeast, the Bise. This wind can make the lake choppy, and sprayed water can freeze creating an unusual frost on boats, on docks and on the lakefront. In periods of the Bise, the temperature may remain below freezing all day, and the wind heightens the feeling of cold, making it seem polar.

Ice near Lake Geneva

The temperatures rarely drops below 14 °F, for example, in recent years it dropped to 12 °F in December 2010 and February 2012, but in the past it touched lower values, for example it plunged to 3 °F in January 1987, -4 °F in January 1985, -0.5 °F in January 1963, and 1.5 °F in February 1956.
Snow can occur during cold air outbreaks, and also later, when the westerlies begin to blow again: in the latter case the snow is going to melt with the passing of hours, when mild air takes over.

Spring, from March to May, is initially a bit cold, and then gradually becomes milder. In March, snow and frost can still occur, and sometimes even in the first half of April. Typically the temperature becomes pleasant in a more stable manner from the second half of May, when even the first afternoon thunderstorms can erupt.

Summer, from June to August, is quite warm and sunny, but with cool nights, and the breeze blowing from the lake. The Azores High is able to bring periods of good weather, sometimes even long, during which thunderstorms can burst in the afternoon (but less frequently than in other cities of Switzerland). At other times, Atlantic fronts can pass, bringing a bit of rain and cool weather. Very hot days are rare: generally the temperature exceeds 89.5 °F for a couple of times in a month in July and August (although in the exceptional summer of 2003 the heat lasted weeks). Sometimes at night it can be even a little cold: the minimum temperature can drop below 50 °F even in July and August.

Autumn, from September to November, is quite rainy; the temperatures are initially pleasant, and then become gradually colder. November is usually a cold and gray month.

The amount of sunshine in Geneva is good in summer, when the sun shines quite often, while it is low from November to February, when the sun is rarely seen.


When to go

The best time to visit Geneva goes from mid-May to mid-September, being the warmest and sunniest of the year. However we cannot exclude some rain, or a bit of cool, or even cold, especially in May and early June.

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Metric version (°C)

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