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Climate - Los Angeles

Temperature, rainfall, prevailing weather conditions, when to go

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

Flag - United States

Los Angeles, where it is
The climate of Los Angeles is temperate, almost Mediterranean, with very mild and relatively rainy winters, and warm, sunny summers.
The city is located at a lower latitude than the Mediterranean coasts, so it has milder winters; on the other hand, it is located on the Pacific coast, along which a cool current flows (the California Current), so the summer is a bit cooler than that of the Mediterranean Sea. So this is a really mild climate, as well as kissed by the sun for most of the year.
There are, however, different microclimates depending on district, since the city covers a wide area, and it's situated on the coast, with plains and hills, and mountains behind.
The city is quite polluted, and pollutants can accumulate in the air especially in the dry season, from May to October.
Here are the average temperatures of downtown Los Angeles.
Los Angeles - average temperatures
Los Angeles J F M A M J J A S O N D
Min (°F) 48 50 52 54 57 61 64 64 63 59 52 48
Max (°F) 68 68 70 73 75 79 82 84 82 79 73 68

In addition to the possible bad weather in winter, a disturbance in the climate of Los Angeles is represented by the Santa Ana, a hot northeast dry wind, blowing for a few days from the deserts of California and Arizona, after passing over the mountains, from which it descends. This wind is more likely in autumn and winter, but can blow all year round, bringing temperatures above 77 °F, sometimes even 85 °F, in the middle of winter, and above 95 °F, sometimes 105 °F, from April to October. Heat waves, due to this wind, occur more often in September, followed by August, July and October; the highest temperature ever was recorded on 27 September 2010, when it touched 113 °F in the city center and 106 °F at the airport, which is located on the coast. The San Fernando Valley, north-west of the city, closed between the hills, is even hotter, and here the highest records are about 115/117 °F. Sometimes, the Santa Ana winds can cause fires.

Los Angeles, city map by Google

Rainfall is quite scarce, amounting to about 15 inches per year, and has a similar pattern to that of the Mediterranean climate, but with a drier autumn, since most of the rain falls from December to March, while in summer it almost never rains. The wettest month is February. The brevity of the rainy season entails that in fact the climate is semi-arid. Sometimes, however, some waves of bad weather can be more intense than usual, and there may be heavy rains, from December to April.
Here is the average precipitation.
Average precipitation - Los Angeles
Los Angeles J F M A M J J A S O N D Year
Prec. (in) 3.1 3.7 2.4 1.0 0.3 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.3 0.6 1.0 2.4 14.8
Days 6 6 6 3 1 1 0 0 1 2 3 5 34

Winter, from December to March, is very mild, and actually looks like spring. There are many nice and sunny days, with daytime temperatures around 68 °F. Following the rare cold air outbreaks, the night temperature can approach freezing. The rains occur in short periods of bad weather, and generally are not abundant, although as mentioned these waves of bad weather can sometimes be more intense than usual. However, the mountains to the north of the city, the San Gabriel Mountains, whose highest peak is Mount San Antonio, 10,062 feet high, are sometimes covered with snow, offering a nice view on the horizon.
As mentioned, sometimes the Santa Ana blows even in winter, raising the temperature to about 77 °F or above.

Spring, from April to June, is pleasantly warm and sunny. In June, and sometimes in May, the phenomenon called "June gloom" can occur in the morning: this is a kind of cloudy and damp weather, sometimes foggy, accompanied by a sort of drizzle, which is formed on the sea and can invade the mainland and therefore the area of Los Angeles. The phenomenon is due to the contrast between the sea, which is still cold, and the mainland, which is getting increasingly warmer.

Summer, from July to September, is hot and sunny. The average temperatures are acceptable, in fact the maximum temperatures reach 85 °F in the central districts of the city, although they slightly exceed this value in areas located further away from the sea (see Pasadena), while on the coast they stay about 75/77 °F. In fact, in summer the ocean acts like a kind of natural air conditioner. On the coast, for example in Santa Monica, at the Los Angeles International Airport or in Long Beach, daytime temperatures are usually a few degrees cooler than in the central districts of the city, not to mention the eastern ones, which are closer to the desert. On the hills above the city, however, there is often a torrid heat, even though at lower altitudes, on the coast, the temperature stays about 77 °F. In addition, if you decide to take a trip to the desert, it should be noted that the temperature gradually increases, and already in San Bernardino, maximum temperatures of 95/97 °F are normal, although the nights are still cool, while in Palm Springs, now well away from Los Angeles, there's a scorching heat, with more than 105 °F as normal maximum temperature. However, in the city of Los Angeles, the temperature in summer is acceptable, except when the Santa Ana blows: in these cases, all these differences are reduced, and it's hot everywhere.
Sometimes the June gloom can also occur in July and August, especially in the years of La Niña, when the sea is colder than usual.

Autumn, in October and November, is very mild or pleasantly warm; in November, the daytime temperatures are still 73 °F on average. In this season, mild and sunny days alternate with hot days, in which the annoying Santa Ana blows, and also with the early periods of bad weather.

The amount of sunshine in Los Angeles is really great, since there are 3,200 hours of sunshine per year. The sky is often clear in all seasons, and above all in summer.

Disneyland is located in Anaheim, about 12 miles away from the sea, to the south-east of downtown Los Angeles, and has the same climate as the center of the city.

Los Angeles

For swimming, the temperature of the sea is very cool, if not cold, even in summer, since it reaches 63 °F in July and August, and 64 °F in September. In June, it is still 59 °F. However you can sunbathe for a long period, from June to September, but often also in April, May and October.
Here are the average sea temperatures.
Sea temperature - Los Angeles
Los Angeles J F M A M J J A S O N D
Sea (°F) 57 57 57 57 57 59 63 63 64 63 61 59

When to go

The best time to visit Los Angeles is spring, from April to June, being a mild or pleasantly warm and sunny period, and with a very low risk of hot days. Even the summer, from July to September, is usually a good period, being warm but not too much (at least if you stay in the city and don't move towards the desert) and sunny; occasionally, however, there may be hot days, when the Santa Ana blows. Even autumn, in October and November, is generally a good season, even though the Santa Ana is quite common, and you can see the first rains, especially in November.

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