California Climate


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California has a Mediterranean climate, characterized by warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters. Depending on the region and elevation of the state, temperatures can range from very hot to cold, with temperatures in some areas reaching triple digits during the summer months. During winter months, coastal areas tend to be mild while inland areas experience cooler temperatures. Precipitation in California varies greatly throughout the year depending on location; snow during winter months is common in higher elevations like the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Overall, California has a mild climate with generally pleasant conditions year-round.

California, California gets 22 inches of rain, on average, per year. The US average is 38 inches of rain per year.

California averages 7 inches of snow per year. The US average is 28 inches of snow per year.

On average, there are 258 sunny days per year in California. The US average is 205 sunny days.

California gets some kind of precipitation, on average, 53 days per year. Precipitation is rain, snow, sleet, or hail that falls to the ground. In order for precipitation to be counted you have to get at least .01 inches on the ground to measure.

Weather Highlights

Summer High: the July high is around 87 degrees
Winter Low: the January low is 39
Rain: averages 22 inches of rain a year
Snow: averages 7 inches of snow a year

Bestplaces Comfort Index

California's annual BestPlaces Comfort Index of 8.4 (10=best) indicates it is one of the most pleasant states in the United States.

8.7 Summer - 7.5 Winter
May, October and June are the most pleasant months in the state of California, while January and December are the least comfortable months.

  ClimateCalifornia, CaliforniaUnited States
  21.7 in.38.1 in.
  7.1 in.27.8 in.
  53.2 days106.2 days
  258 days205 days
  2304 ft.2443 ft.

Many people confuse weather and climate but they are different. Weather is the conditions of the atmosphere over a short period of time, and climate is how the atmosphere is over long periods of time.

Weather is how the atmosphere is behaving and its effects upon life and human activities. Weather can change from minute-to-minute. Most people think of weather in terms of temperature, humidity, precipitation, cloudiness, brightness, visibility, wind, and atmospheric pressure.

Climate is the description of the long-term pattern of weather in a place. Climate can mean the average weather for a particular region and time period taken over 30 years. Climate is the average of weather over time.

August is the hottest month for California with an average high temperature of 86.9°, which ranks it as warmer than most states. In California, there are 5 comfortable months with high temperatures in the range of 70-85°. The most pleasant months of the year for California are October, May and June.
California has 49.8 days annually when the high temperature is over 90°, which is hotter than most states in the U.S.
December has the coldest nighttime temperatures for California with an average of 38.8°. This is one of the warmest of the U.S. states.
California has 26.5 days annually when the nighttime low temperature falls below freezing, which is one of the warmest states in the U.S.
California averages 0.2 days annually when the nighttime low temperature falls below freezing, which is warmer than most states in the U.S.
Humidity in the state of California is generally quite low and comfortable. There are few days during the summer when the humidity becomes unpleasant. The most humid months (but still comfortable) are July, August and June.
February is the wettest month in California with 4.2 inches of rain, and the driest month is July with 0.1 inches. The wettest season is Spring with 56% of yearly precipitation and 2% occurs in Autumn, which is the driest season. California's average annual rainfall of 21.7 inches indicates that it is drier than most states in the United States.
January is the rainiest month in California with 8.6 days of rain, and July is the driest month with only 0.5 rainy days. California's annual average of 53.2 days with measurable rain is one of the least rainy states in the United States. The rainiest season is Spring when it rains 47% of the time and the driest is Autumn with only a 5% chance of a rainy day.
California's average annual snowfall of 7.1 inches indicates that it is one of the least snowy states in the United States. February is the snowiest month in California with 1.5 inches of snow, and 6 months of the year have significant snowfall.
Reviews for California
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Over 2 years ago

California is a great state. What stopped me from giving it 5 stars is the crime, homelessness, high cost of living, traffic, drought, and wildfires. Still a pretty good  More

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Over 3 years ago

Born and raised here - been all around the country and world but California is unrivaled for beauty , diversity, food, landscapes, vibrant industries and agriculture and  More

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We're full. Got enough people already. Don't need to grow our population. Just need to let the roads catch  More

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