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Old 01-10-2012, 10:30 PM
 
8 posts, read 10,134 times
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I will be visiting SF for the first time in the next few months and am curious as to the rain situation. I saw an earlier post by someone who asked about the rain in early February and read how people have mentioned that there is wind, as well.

I'm from Florida, so a little rain is not a big deal to me, really, but I guess my main concern is how bad is it to walk around in. Because I will be on foot/using public transpo for my entire stay. In central Florida our weather is severely unpredictable. We can range anywhere from a light drizzle to almost hurricane-like deluges, all within a span of hours, so there is an obvious gap where it's perfectly fine to walk around with an umbrella and then the next minute you're running for shelter. Is Bay Area weather anything like that? Or is it pretty constant?

I chose the earlier part of the year to visit due to avoiding the high tourist season, but I guess I'm wondering if it's best just to save my trip for March?

Thanks for any suggestions!
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Old 01-10-2012, 10:35 PM
 
Location: Boulder Creek, CA
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Right now, we would very much welcome any rain - it's been bone dry for a long time.

But even when it does rain, you're not likely to ever get washed away in a flood (except maybe in Healdsburg) or blown away by wind (except maybe Mt. Tam). Part of the exhorbitant expense here and throughout the state is the luxury of constant, predictable weather. In the Bay Area, you have any number of microclimates to choose from.
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Old 01-10-2012, 11:05 PM
 
Location: South Korea
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Usually it rains here a lot in winter but it's hardly rained at all. I think a couple times in October and once very briefly a couple weeks ago. Usually I'd say to expect a lot of rain especially in February and maybe in March but this year I have no idea. Plus it's been really warm here, like 65-70 during the day when a few weeks ago it was more like 45-50 which is more typical.

I grew up in Florida. The main difference in comparing rain here and there is that here it only rains in the winter and spring, and only when it's cold. So if it does rain it will be like 45-50 and it is pretty miserable because it's a clammy cold rain. It's not heavy rain like FL but it can rain all day every day for a week at a time, or just for an entire day.

Definitely make sure to have an umbrella. Also I'd recommend having a fairly warm jacket that is waterproof. Even if it doesn't rain it can be in the 40's in February so a warm jacket is key. In March it usually warms up some but the last couple years it stayed chilly and rainy until May. Really I'd just keep an eye on the weather during the week before you leave to come here and plan accordingly.
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Old 01-10-2012, 11:57 PM
 
Location: A bit further north than before
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"Heavy rain" in San Francisco is a light drizzle in Florida terms, although it's so much cooler that it can really sink into your bones in a way it never does on the East Coast.
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Old 01-11-2012, 01:15 AM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
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Make sure you have rain friendly walking shoes. The sidewalks can be covered with puddles.

You'll end up craving hot coco during your trip a lot.

The amount of rain is unpredictable, but it is rarely hard. And when it is hard, it isn't typically more than 15 minutes worth.
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Old 01-11-2012, 02:44 AM
 
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All of this "rain" and "cold San Francisco winters" talk just makes me chuckle. I experienced perhaps one of the more rainy or worst (according to some of my local friends) winters that this area of the country can deliver last year...and it was pretty laughable compared to any winter I had ever experienced in the roughly three decades of my life up to that point. If it's above freezing, the sun comes out more than once every 20 days, and all I need is a "spring/fall" rain jacket when I leave the house, I am in pure heaven. This winter has been pretty awesome so far (although, outside of my selfish desire to have great weather like this, we do really need more rain).

People like to talk about weather here a lot when there is a chance of...well, any potential change (the headlines can sometimes be funny); and really the thing I've learned since living here is that the weather stays the same way more often than it changes (especially in SF...I think the average temperatures in January are not very far from the average temperatures in July). I hardly ever think about the weather here since it's such a minor thing. Then again, I grew up in the north (Great Lakes) where there actually are legitimate changes in the weather during the winter, so perhaps my opinion isn't the one you should be listening to...

Coming from Florida, you might notice that when we get rain, it isn't of the thunderstorm variety...rather just of the drizzly-low-stratus-clouds variety. There might be some harder downpours interspersed in there, but most of our "rainy" days are just drizzly and cloudy days. That isn't to say we don't get some big wind storms once in a while, but they're not the norm. This winter has been especially dry...but who's to say that trend will continue through the entire winter. I would prepare for the worst that we could get (that is, prepare for some rain, so bring rain jacket, umbrella, etc.), but hopefully this trend continues and you have awesome weather for your trip!
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Old 01-11-2012, 12:08 PM
 
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Here's a chart of the average rain fall by month for SF

Average Weather for San Francisco, CA - Temperature and Precipitation

From the chart, February is suppose to be the wettest month but we're suppose to get rain in Jan/Dec too and we haven't had any this year.
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Old 01-12-2012, 08:52 AM
 
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Thanks for all your help everyone!
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Old 01-12-2012, 09:54 AM
 
Location: San Diego, California Republic
15,844 posts, read 19,794,981 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HockeyMac18 View Post
All of this "rain" and "cold San Francisco winters" talk just makes me chuckle. I experienced perhaps one of the more rainy or worst (according to some of my local friends) winters that this area of the country can deliver last year...and it was pretty laughable compared to any winter I had ever experienced in the roughly three decades of my life up to that point. If it's above freezing, the sun comes out more than once every 20 days, and all I need is a "spring/fall" rain jacket when I leave the house, I am in pure heaven. This winter has been pretty awesome so far (although, outside of my selfish desire to have great weather like this, we do really need more rain).

People like to talk about weather here a lot when there is a chance of...well, any potential change (the headlines can sometimes be funny); and really the thing I've learned since living here is that the weather stays the same way more often than it changes (especially in SF...I think the average temperatures in January are not very far from the average temperatures in July). I hardly ever think about the weather here since it's such a minor thing. Then again, I grew up in the north (Great Lakes) where there actually are legitimate changes in the weather during the winter, so perhaps my opinion isn't the one you should be listening to...

Coming from Florida, you might notice that when we get rain, it isn't of the thunderstorm variety...rather just of the drizzly-low-stratus-clouds variety. There might be some harder downpours interspersed in there, but most of our "rainy" days are just drizzly and cloudy days. That isn't to say we don't get some big wind storms once in a while, but they're not the norm. This winter has been especially dry...but who's to say that trend will continue through the entire winter. I would prepare for the worst that we could get (that is, prepare for some rain, so bring rain jacket, umbrella, etc.), but hopefully this trend continues and you have awesome weather for your trip!
Oh we're not that bad. Try living in San Diego where there is even less variety in the weather believe it or not.

One thing to remember about all weather in the Bay Area is what you get truly does depends on where you are. It's all about the microclimates. Some here who've spoken about heavier rain live in the east bay, the area around Berkeley and northern Oakland. This region, due to it's location east of the golden gate and due to orographic lifting because of the rather steep hills (and in Berkeley's case a general tilt as well) does get more heavier downpours than a good part of SF proper, certainly more than the eastern side of the city. North and south of this area, rainfall amounts are lower and usually lighter in nature. One more extreme example of this is the difference in rainfall amounts between San Jose and Santa Cruz which are about 30 miles apart or so. The former gets about 15 inches while the latter receives 30. There aren't too many more regions of the country that can see rainfall vary so greatly over such a short distance.
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