I’ve been in L.A. for almost a year now, and from what I’ve seen so far, there are just two long seasons here: Autumn, from October through March, when days are mostly sunny and pleasant and nights are cool; and Summer, from April through September, when it’s mostly sunny and warm, with some very hot days in August and September.
I was delighted to find out that autumn/winter temperatures here vary from the high 50s to the high 70s, even 80s –in late November 2011 temps reached 88F in Santa Monica and people flocked to the beach.
Unfortunately, fall foliage in L.A. is nothing like the breathtaking color spectacle found in other parts of the country. In the Washington D.C. area the change of colors is a major attraction, and one I miss a lot. But the vegetation in L.A. is very beautiful, with different trees and flowers blooming all year-long. So there’s always a lot of color everywhere, even in the winter months. Every now and then it gets windy and chilly, especially near the ocean. But it still doesn’t compare to even mild winters elsewhere. Even on colder nights, a light coat is all you need. The secret here is to dress in layers. Scarves, trendy sweaters, leggings, and boots are a styling must and, most times, all you need for day outings.
There is a lot of talk about the Santa Ana winds but I’ll need a few more years here to master the exact frequency and effects of the Santa Ana winds on L.A.’s seasons. According to Wikipedia, “southern California coastal region gets some of its hottest weather of the year during autumn while Santa Ana winds are blowing. During Santa Ana conditions it is typically hotter along the coast than in the deserts.”
Low fog is also common during fall/winter months, especially around the beaches. It’s kind of creepy, actually. Walking around Santa Monica on a foggy night feels like being on a scary Halloween movie scene.
Spring and early summer in L.A. are filled with warm, sunny, delightful days, with temps in the 70s and 80s. June mornings are generally foggy and gloomy, due to the marine layer that blankets the city for hours just about every day. This phenomenon happens along the entire West Coast and is known as June Gloom.
Thanks to L.A.’s low humidity, I found hotter summer days here much more tolerable than on the East Coast. But the sun is brutal and can be devastating to one’s skin. Since a lot of activities in L.A. take place outdoors, regardless of the season, one should never leave home without applying (and reapplying) sunscreen.
Finally, what they say about never raining in Southern California is true –this past year it has rained only six times as far as I can remember; and not a drop since early April! But when it rains, sometimes it pours! And Angelenos are terrified of rain the same way Washingtonians are terrified of snow. They are not used to driving in the rain, the streets don’t seem to have proper drainage, and traffic becomes a nightmare. Weather forecasters talk about rain in L.A. as if the city were about to be hit by a deluge. Most times, after all the fuss, the rain turns out to be just a passing drizzle.
In terms of weather, I think Angelenos really have it made. I love having the sun around all year ’round. I love not having to worry about tornadoes and thunder storms that destroy homes and leave thousands without power, or snow storms that leave people stranded at home for days– all too common in the East Coast.
Even though I feel lucky to live in a place with this great weather, I do miss those cool, crisp October days in Washington. I miss the dry, cool air hitting my face, the multicolored leaves, and that unmistakable, yet indescribable, smell of autumn. Oh, and I do miss seeing a bit of rain. There’s nothing more delicious than a good rainy day now and then.
Happy Autumn everyone!