San Diego Weather

San Diego sunny weather
San Diego weather: sunny skies and picturesque

Having lived here for 10 years, what I remember most about San Diego weather is that it's sunny all the time. Clearly, this can't be true. It does rain in San Diego; however the sunny days are so beautiful that it is easy to forget the few rainy days that exist per year.

San Diego cacti
Indeed, in physical maps, San Diego is a "Costal Desert". This is evident when you drive inland (eastward). After 30 minutes, you will immediately notice the change in climate: much drier, much hotter, less grass, and more drought resistant plants (succulents & cacti). These hot, dry conditions sometimes cause dangerous forest fires which can persist for weeks. Very bad, uncontrolled, forest fires occur about once every 5 years.

On average, San Diego weather provides about 10 inches (25cm) of rain per year: this constitutes 10% to 20% of San Diego's drinking water. The remaining 80% to 90% drinking water is imported via aqueducts from the Colorado River and from Northern California (near Sacramento). [Photo: cacti and succulents in Anza-Borrego.]

san diego weather

Typical Weather Pattern

San Diego Weather
What to Bring
  • cool temperatures of 65°F (18.5°C).
  • Some days can be overcast while other days be sunny with clear skies. It is unpredictable; however, it is often either one or the other, not both on the same day.
  • occasional showers. On rare occasions (once per 5 years), there might be heavy rain which causes flooding and uprooted trees.

Bring a warm jacket. Dress in layers (a light shirt and a medium weight sweater). Winter jacket not necessary. Bring a hat, umbrella, or rain coat if it looks necessary.

  • these spring months are often the most pleasant
  • weather conditions head towards warmer temperatures (above 65°F; near 19°C) and more sunny skies
  • a typical day may start cloudy, turn sunny by noon, and then revert to cloudy skies by late afternoon.
  • rain may still occur in March, but becomes more and more rare as you approach April.
Bring a jacket and umbrella only if it looks necessary. Consider bringing a sun hat and applying sunscreen if you anticipate being out in the sun all afternoon.

  • for a week or two, "May Gray" or "June Gloom" may occur where clouds are blown in from the ocean. Clouds burn off by noon.
  • almost no rain as you enter these summer months
  • weather is quite pleasant: upper 60's°F (20°C)
  • is often hot when you are in the sun and cool when you are in the shade. A combination of warm sun and cool breeze can be quite enjoyable.

Bring a light jacket which may be useful during the evening when the sun has set. Bring a sun hat and apply sunscreen as needed.

through September
  • hot days of summer!
  • temperatures seem pleasant (75°F, 23°C), however, the sun is scorchingly hot making it feel like it is 85°F (30°C)
  • no rain
  • avoid being outdoors at high noon
  • best times for touring and sightseeing are before 11 am and after 4 pm
Wear a sun hat and apply sunscreen. A light jacket may be needed if you are outdoors during late evening or if you are at the beach (cools winds come in from the ocean).

  • entering the Fall season
  • finally, a relief from the very hot temperatures
  • temperatures gradually decrease from 75°F to a balmy 70°F (24°C to 21°C)
  • may begin to be cloudy as you approach October
  • may get some rain in late October.
Bring a hat if it is sunny; bring an umbrella if it looks cloudy; bring a jacket.

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San Diego cactus