Weather & Earthquakes

Weather in San Diego California

The county of San Diego is located in the southwest corner of Southern California. The prevailing winds are from the Pacific Ocean, with the result that summers are cool, and winters are warm in comparison with other places along the same latitude. In fact, many visitors flock to San Diego in the winter to escape the cold, and in the summer to escape the heat!  Is there any other city in the U.S. that can make a similar claim?

Strong winds and gales associated with Pacific tropical storms are infrequent due to the latitude. The seasonal rainfall is about 10 inches in the city, but increases with elevation and distance from the coast. Most of the precipitation (85%) falls in the winter, between Thanksgiving and Easter.

As on the rest of the Pacific Coast, a dominant characteristic of spring and summer is the nighttime and early morning cloudiness. Low clouds frequently extend inland over the coastal valleys and foothills, but usually dissipate in the mornings, and afternons are clear.

Considerable fog occurs along the coast, but decreases with distance inland. The fall and winter months are usually the foggiest. Thunderstorms are rare, averaging about three a year in the city.

One of the most unusual features of the climate is the wide variation of temperature within short distances. If you’re from back East or the Midwest, you may find it hard to believe that you can drive a few miles and have different weather, but this is indeed the case. This could be a typical summer day: 75 degrees in Carlsbad, 85 in San Marcos, 95 in Escondido. Or a typical winter night could be 50 degrees in Carlsbad, 40 degrees in San Marcos, frost in Escondido. In the winter it could be raining in Escondido, sunny at the beach. In June, it could be 90 degrees in Escondido, but foggy and 60 degrees at the beach.

The good thing about all this is that you can usually drive a bit to get whatever weather you want. Too hot? Go to the beach. Too cold or foggy? Go for a day in the mountains. Tired of rain? Go to the desert for the weekend. There’s so many options!

So where’s the ideal climate? This is a matter of opinion, and it depends what you’re looking for. If you have arthritis, the warmer, drier air of the inland valleys might be better for you than the cooler, more humid air at the ocean. If you like balmy evenings having cookouts in the backyard, you might prefer being inland a bit – at the beach you’d need a sweater most evenings, even in the summer.

Many people take the middle ground – not right on the beach, but not too far inland either, about 3-10 miles from the ocean is about right. This strip of land boasts the highest number of days that are 72 degrees than anywhere else in the planet. That’s why we call the weather here “nearly perfect”!

Buying Real Estate in San Diego – Earthquake Information

In San Diego, we don’t have hurricanes, tornadoes or serious floods. In fact, our climate is “99% perfect”, and we have more days where the temperature is 72 degrees than anywhere else on the planet. But because we are on the Pacific Rim, we have to be concerned with the possibility of an earthquake.

What are the odds of you being involved in an earthquake? It has to do with how far you are from an active fault, what the buildings are made of, and what the underlying soil is. The worst tragedies occur where there are old masonry buildings built on sandy soil. We all saw the devastation in the Marina district of San Francisco and in Mexico City.

In San Diego, we are 90 miles from the San Andreas fault, much farther than Los Angeles or San Francisco. Our buildings here tend to be wood frame and stucco, which is much more resistant to earthquakes than masonry construction. Our soil is mostly decomposed granite, which does not move like the old lake beds of Mexico City. We are a much younger city than others in California, so we benefit from the stricter building standards that the older cities didn’t have. And just recently, the California Department of Transportation has begun improvements to all overpasses to make sure they can withstand a 7.0 earthquake.

In other words, don’t judge the entire state by the destruction that you see on the media. Not all areas are equally at risk. To be safe, you want to live far from a fault; make sure the buildings you live and work in are built on solid ground; and that they are well constructed. That’s what we have to offer here in San Diego.

For more informaton, the U.S. Geologic Survey website has an extensive “Frequently Asked Questions” section. If you like to look at maps, look at this one. You’ll notice that San Diego is the least risky place in Southern California.