The climate of the Azores Islands is subtropical oceanic, pleasantly warm in summer yet cool or mild for many months; therefore, they are not a tropical paradise. The archipelago, a Portuguese autonomous region, is located in the Atlantic Ocean at the same latitude as the Mediterranean Sea. However, the influence of the ocean makes the climate mild by comparison, especially in the summer, when the temperature is lower than on the coasts and islands of the Mediterranean.

Index:


Temperature



The winter temperatures range from 11/12 °C (52/53 °F) at night to 17/18 °C (63/64 °F) during the day, while in summer, they range from 17/18 °C (63/64 °F) at night to 24/26 °C (75/79 °F) during the day. The temperature varies incrementally from one month to the other, and highs exceed 20 °C (68 °F) only from June to October. The highest temperatures on the Azores are not impressive: they almost never reach 30 °C (86 °F) even in summer. On the other hand, temperatures rarely drop below 7/8 °C (45/46 °F) in winter.
Here are the average temperatures of Ponta Delgada.
Ponta Delgada - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)121212121416181918161413
Max (°C)171717181921242524221918
Min (°F)545454545761646664615755
Max (°F)636363646670757775726664

Rainfall



The famous anticyclone (high pressure area) that brings fine weather to Western Europe and the Mediterranean (i.e. the Azores High) got its name from the Azores, interestingly enough however, the weather on these islands is not always sunny. In fact, in autumn and winter, the rains are frequent, and on the north-western islands, they are also abundant. In addition, sometimes there can be wind storms in the period from November to March.
Owing to the abundance of rainfall, the environment is green and blossoming; flowers paint the landscape mainly in spring, and they also gave the name to the westernmost and very rainy island of Flores ("flowers").
Here is the average precipitation of Santa Cruz, on the island of Flores.
Santa Cruz - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)1951701551051059560701251801802251665
Prec.(in)7.76.76.14.14.13.72.42.84.97.17.18.965.6
Days1717151210981012141518158

The rainfall is below 800 millimeters (30 inches) per year on the island of Santa Maria (the southeasternmost island), it's above 900 mm (35 in) in São Miguel, while it reaches or exceeds 1,000 mm (40 in) on the other islands (see Angra do Heroísmo, on the island of Terceira). In the summer months, from June to August, the rains are a bit more rare and less abundant, but they still occur for 5/7 days per month on average.
Here is the average rainfall of the aforementioned Ponta Delgada, on the southeastern island of São Miguel.
Ponta Delgada - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)1108085656540255095110120120970
Prec.(in)4.33.13.32.62.61.6123.74.34.74.738.2
Days13121110966610111314121

Sunshine



The Azores do not get a lot of sun, especially in the period from October to April, when the skies are often cloudy. Here are the average sunshine hours per day in Ponta Delgada.
Ponta Delgada - Sunshine
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Hours344565776543

Some of the islands are covered by hills or mountains. The highest peak is Mount Pico, on the island of the same name; it's a volcano of 2,351 meters (7,713 feet) and is also the highest mountain in Portugal. On the slopes of the mountain, there is not much sun and the rainfall is abundant, while the summit can be covered with snow in winter and spring.

Azores

Sea temperature



From July to September, the ocean is not particularly warm, yet may be acceptable for swimming for those who are not sensitive to the cold. The water temperature is 22 °C (72 °F) in July and 23 °C (73 °F) in August and September. Below are the average sea temperatures.
Ponta Delgada - Sea temperature
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Temp (°C)171616171820222323211918
Temp (°F)636161636468727373706664

Hurricanes



Occasionally, the Azores islands can be affected by hurricanes, the tropical cyclones of the Atlantic, although they generally arrive weakened because they have to move into a sea that is not very warm. Generally, hurricanes move northeast after hitting the Caribbean, but sometimes they can come directly from the south, from the Cape Verde area. The Azores are almost always reached in September or October.
Some hurricanes that hit the archipelago were:
At the beginning of September 1899, the "Great Bahamas" hurricane, which had hit the Caribbean in August, struck the island of São Miguel.
Hurricane Carrie in September 1957.
Hurricane Debbie in September 1961.
Hurricane Emmy at the beginning of September 1976.
In September 1992, two hurricanes, Bonnie and Charley, passed one after the other within a few days.
Hurricane Tanya in early November 1995.
Hurricane Gordon, which mainly affected the island of Santa Maria on September 20, 2006, with gusts at 130 kph (80 mph).
Another hurricane named Gordon affected the island of Santa Maria in August 2012.
In January 2016, in an absolutely anomalous period, hurricane Alex affected the islands, after having weakened to a tropical storm; however, it brought heavy rains and strong winds.
Hurricane Ophelia in early October 2017.
Hurricane Lorenzo at the beginning of October 2019.

Best Time



The best time to visit the Azores is summer, from July to August, since it is the warmest and sunniest time of the year. Because of their oceanic climate, the Azores experience a delay in the sea getting warm, which affects the air temperature as well, so much so that September is slightly warmer than June, and temperature-wise September is still a summer month, even though the rains become a bit more frequent. In July and August, the temperatures are pleasant; the sun shines quite often and there is not much rain. In June, it is a bit cooler and cloudier by comparison.

What to pack



In winter: bring spring/autumn clothes, a sweater, a jacket, and a raincoat.
In summer: bring light clothing, but also a sweatshirt or sweater, a light scarf for the wind, a light jacket, and a raincoat or umbrella.

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