Does it snow in San Francisco?

Known as The City by the Bay, the City and County of San Francisco, the fourth most populous within California and the thirteenth in the country, has been one of the most representative cities in the United States since its annexation in the mid-nineteenth century.

Today, almost two hundred years after the rise of the California Gold Rush, the same one that for a time gave it the name of the City of Gold, San Francisco has become one of the leading financial, technological, and tourist centers of the United States.

Despite this, from a current and international tourist perspective, the fame of this city does not lie in its history but in a specific symbol: the Golden Gate Bridge (considered by both natives and tourists as the main symbol of San Francisco by far).

Thus, if you are traveling along the west coast of the United States, do not forget to visit the city of San Francisco. Incredible tourist attractions await you there, such as the Golden Gate Bridge, the Golden Gate Park, the Palace of Fine Arts, the famous San Francisco Chinatown, and the legendary Alcatraz prison.


    Snow in San Francisco?

    Does it snow in San Francisco? The short answer is yes (technically speaking). Nevertheless, it is important to highlight certain aspects of this question.

    Based on the Köppen climate classification, San Francisco has a warm-summer Mediterranean climate (Csb): a climate area characterized by hot (but not too hot) and dry summers, with average monthly temperatures ranging from 72 °F (22.2 °C) to 47 °F (8.3 °C).

    Although frosts are usual during the winter in regions with this type of climate, the chances of a snowfall occurring are minimal. Such is the case of the city of San Francisco, which has experienced only ten snowfalls from 1852 to 2022.

    The last recorded snowfall in San Francisco was in February 2011, almost 35 years after the snowfall that preceded it (February 1976).

    Snow in the Golden Gate
    Snow in San Francisco (1976).

    The climate of San Francisco


    As mentioned in the previous section, San Francisco has a warm-summer Mediterranean climate (Csb), which arises as a result of the combination of different factors such as cold ocean currents, upwelling, and considerably high latitudes.

    In the case of this city, the warm-summer Mediterranean climate finds its justification in San Francisco's proximity to the Pacific Ocean and its homologous bay (San Francisco Bay).

    Snow in San Francisco
    Snow in San Francisco (1962).

    Now, what exactly does this mean? Or in other words, what are the main characteristics of this type of climate?

    In simple words, San Francisco experiences a remarkably mild and stable climate year-round, with a small average daily temperature range (52.2 °F / 11.2 °C - 62.9 °F / 17.1 °C), mild and humid winters, and dry summers.

    Likewise, the summers of San Francisco boast a particular characteristic: the fog, a meteorological phenomenon derived from the combination of the winds from the North Pacific High and the low pressure produced by the warm air that rises in the interior valleys of California.

    Due to its thick-summer fog, San Francisco received the nickname: The Fog City. However, currently, this nickname is in disuse because it can be annoying for the natives of the city.


    Summer weather characteristics

    • Highest record temperature: 106 °F (41.1 °C).
    • Mean maximum: 85.44 °F (29.6 °C).
    • Average high: 68.14 °F (20 °C).
    • Mean minimum: 51.3 °F (10.7 °C).
    • Daily mean: 61.34 °F (16.3 °C).
    • Average precipitation: 0.262 inches (0.66 cm).
    • Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 inches): 1.62.

    Winter weather characteristics

    • Lowest record temperature: 27 °F (-2.7 °C).
    • Mean maximum: 70.42 °F (21.3 °C).
    • Average high: 59.55 °F (15.3 °C).
    • Mean minimum: 41.72 °F (5.4 °C).
    • Daily mean: 53.6 °F (12 °C).
    • Average precipitation: 4.17 inches (10.5 cm).
    • Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 inches): 11.1

    Precipitation and other weather characteristics

    • Average annual precipitation: 35.43 inches (89.9 cm).
    • The highest record of snowfall accumulation per year: 5 inches (February 1976).

    When does it snow in San Francisco? 🌨

    Snow in San Francisco
    Snow in San Francisco (1976).

    Does it snow in San Francisco in December?

    No, it does not!

    Does it snow in San Francisco in January?

     No, it does not!

    Does it snow in San Francisco in February?

    Yes, it might snow in February! The last two recorded snowfalls in San Francisco (1976 and 2011) occurred in February. 

    Does it snow in San Francisco in March?

     No, it does not!

    How much does it snow in San Francisco? 🌨

    Next, we present an informative table on different climatological parameters of San Francisco, which includes the peak snowfall record expressed in inches:

    Average low (°F)46.647.948.949.751.453.054.455.555.654.450.747.051.3
    Record low (°F)29313340424647464743382727
    Average rainfall (inches)4.404.373.151.600.700.
    Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)11.210.810.
    Record snowfall inches (year)05

    Snow in San Francisco

    The data set out above comes from the climate data provided by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

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