The Average Temperature in Cabo is 78°F (26°C).
From October to April the temperature is between 78°F (26°C) and 82°F (28°C) during the day and between 57°F (14°C) and 62°F (17°C) at night.
The rest of the year temperatures may go over 100°F (38°C) during the day and between 70°F (21°C) and 85°F (29°C) at night.
Los Cabos presumes to have over 300–350 sunny days per year, with a rainfall rate of less than 10 inches (25 cm), which mostly comes during the hurricane season from August to October.
General Patterns in Cabo San Lucas and Around Baja California
The Baja Peninsula divides in the middle into two weather zones. The northern half experiences weather similar to that of Southern California, while the southern half, including Cabo San Lucas, has weather more like Arizona.
The northern half has its rainy season in the winter - storms blow in from the North Pacific and are generally moderate in strength by the time they reach the Baja peninsula. The summer is usually dry and brings consistent winds along the Pacific coast.
The southern half, including Los Cabos, gets most of its rain during the "hurricane season" from July through October. Storms can come from all directions but rarely do they come from the north. Hurricanes start to form off Southern Mexico and tend to head northwest with a general pattern of moving out into the mid-Pacific - however, sometimes they an curve north, or north and then east, or north and then west, to pass over the southern areas of the Baja Peninsula. Occasionally they have been known to make landfall near Cabo San Lucas causing severe weather events.
The amounts of rainfall in Los Cabos varies tremendously from year to year. Some years will pass with essentially no rainfall at all. In others the rainfall amounts will rival those of California (USA or Alta), and the desert will become green and be carpeted with wild flowers.
Summer in Cabo San Lucas
The heat of summer can be oppressive in some areas - while in other nearby areas breezes may keep much of this heat at bay. Some people really enjoy the summer weather in Cabo, especially the warm waters and very pleasant evenings, however mid-day temperatures can be excessive and great care should be taken in the strong sun.
One of the secrets to enjoying a summer stay in Cab San Lucas is to plan your day around the weather. Activities should be booked for morning or evening times. If you're going to the market, use the evening hours for this visit, just like the locals do. During the heat of mid-day keep your activities to a minimum, or make certain they occur in an air-conditioned environment. Or why not have a siesta! And there’s always a cold beer in a shaded bar with a cool sea breeze.
If you are traveling any distance in Baja California during the summer months, be sure to carry an emergency supply of water and a shade cover in case of a mechanical problem. Also make certain your vehicle is in good condition to start with, especially the cooling system. Available water is for drinking – not to top up a leaking radiator! For emergency you will need one gallon of water per person per day – so be prepared on a long road trip.
The Wind and Los Cabos
Baja California is affected by several regular wind patterns. At certain times of the year these winds can strongly affect recreational activities. During the passage of hurricanes in the summer, and storms from the northwest in the winter, the regular wind patterns will be disrupted, and may be replaced by strong storm-generated winds.
Along the Pacific coast the prevailing wind is from the northwest, and funnels along the Baja Peninsula creating one of the most difficult upwind boat passages in North America. This wind is more regular during the summer, and follows the pattern found in Southern California. During the winter months it can blow more strongly during passing storms, but is irregular in its appearance.
Because most of Baja California has a spine of mountains running the length of the peninsula, this northwest wind is localized to the Pacific coastal region. The La Paz region, with a low plateau to the west, is the exception to this. Especially during the winter months when the northwest wind is blowing strongly, the La Paz region experiences a wind which drops the effective temperature and can raise heavy seas in the surrounding waters.
In the Sea of Cortez, the event of strong winds is often associated with a high-pressure system in the southwestern U.S.. (This is the same cause of the "Santa Ana wind" experienced in Southern California.) This high-pressure causes a strong flow of air to move from the higher desert regions (Nevada and Utah) to the lower regions in Southern California. In particular, the air flows down through the Imperial Valleys of California and Mexico into the Sea of Cortez, where it is funnelled for almost a thousand miles. This wind can blow for many days before relenting!
Local wind patterns exist in most areas including Cabo San Lucas. The most prominent of these is the Coromuel wind of La Paz. This wind is mainly a summer wind which reduces the prevailing temperatures and is what makes La Paz one of the most favored places for summer residence in southern Baja California, at least on the Gulf side. The "Coromuel" usually springs up in the late afternoon and may blow all night. It is always from the south, and blows up through many of the islands to the north of La Paz.
Around Cabo San Lucas the prevailing breeze also helps to cool things down in summer, much more than in San Jose Del Cabo or further out on the East Cape for example and many would argue even more than La Paz.
Cabo San Lucas and El Niño
While the exact nature of El Niño effects are difficult to predict, the general effects which might change the weather during a visit to Cabo San Lucas appear to be well understood.
The basic rule seems to be that the warmer Pacific currents tend to produce warmer air and water temperatures, and more moisture. This rule translates into differing effects in the southern and northern halves of the peninsula, according to the general patterns discussed above.
As an example, during the 1997 hurricane season, there were a "normal" number of hurricanes, but one of these was a record-setter, and another was a real "killer".
Hurricane Linda was the strongest hurricane that has been recorded in NE Pacific waters - wind gusts peaked at over 200MPH! Hurricane Pauline was so "loaded with moisture" that extensive damage and loss of life occurred in Acapulco from flooding and mudslides.
It takes ocean waters of 82°(F) or more to sustain a hurricane. Since the warmer waters reached much further north, hurricanes tended to move to higher latitudes than normal. Hurricane Linda was predicted to head into Southern California at one point - with an expected land fall near Santa Barbara. So the exaggeration of effects brought on by El Niño can also move the general weather patterns of Baja California further north in the summer, and further south in the winter.
The water temperatures in the Sea of Cortez went as high as 90°(F), and many of the far-ranging fish migrated far to the north, especially on the Pacific side.
The effects of El Niño produced both bad results (Hurricane Pauline) and good results (rebuilt water tables and turned the peninsula into a garden). The same should be true in the more northern areas during the winter months, if El Niño produces major weather changes. Keep in mind the fact that, in the northern areas, the winter storms will not be of hurricane strength.
In 2009 the main effect of the El Niño was to increase the overall temperatures to record breaking levels and keep the water warm well into the November fishing season. The result was that fishermen were still catching blue marlin and record numbers of dorado as late as December, a time when the cooler water currents should have driven these fish to the south and brought the migrating sardines and striped marlin. Cabo San Lucas experienced one of its worse fishing seasons that year and it was followed by a La Niña event in 2010 which kept the waters unseasonably cold, equally damaging the fishing but, thankfully, bringing a very pleasant summer season for tourists.
Cabo San Lucas Weather Links
> Cabo San Lucas Weather Page
> 10 Day Cabo San Lucas Weather Forecast
> National Weather Service - Tropical Storm Predictions
> National Weather Service - Pacific Tropical Cyclone Sector
> Jet Stream Analyses - California Regional Weather Server
> Sea Surface Temps of North America
> Animated Wave Direction and Heights
> Satellite Image Mexico - National Weather Service