The climate in Puerto Rico is truly nothing short of spectacular, however, it is surprisingly complicated. In this page I will give you general “rules of thumb” and other information that will help you understand the climate in Puerto Rico. Even though this is a tropical island, Puerto Rico has “seasons” of its own. Also, it is worth mentioning that the coastal areas are generally warmer than the interior (mountainous) sections of Puerto Rico, also known as “Cordillera Central”.
In terms of temperature, it seems as though there are only 2 seasons, hot and not-as-hot (winter) season. The winter months (December through March) are also the driest months and I can’t even describe how AMAZING the climate is. High temperature in the low to mid 80s at the lower elevations and in the low to mid 70s at the higher elevations. Low temperature is generally close to 70 degrees at the lower elevations and anywhere between 55 to 65 at the higher elevations, although it may slightly colder in some areas.
What about April through November? Well, it starts to get warmer in April, more days getting into the 90s and temperatures will be in the upper 80s to lower 90s at the lower elevations until mid to late November. Subtract at least 10 degrees for the higher elevations.
Puerto Rico “Seasons”, what to expect per month:
Believe it or not the climate in Puerto Rico has seasonal variations in which you can notice changes in temperatures and rainfall. However there are other differences as well, read on.
December through March: These are generally the *coldest* and driest months, although it can get cool into early April. Thunderstorms are not as common during these months and it is simply BEAUTIFUL. Marine conditions though can be rough during these months. Lots of marine advisories due to moderate to strong swells causing seas of over 7 feet. Breaking waves are known to have reached 15 feet or even more. High surf advisories and even coastal flood advisories are not uncommon during these months.
April and May: Starting to get a little warmer, also the number of thunderstorms is increasing. May is a very wet month for the San Juan metropolitan area as well as the interior sections of Puerto Rico. Expect temperatures starting to reach 90 degrees during these months. Saharan dust starts to make its way to Puerto Rico.
June: Start of the Hurricane Season, also the start of the “Saharan Dust Season”. June is my least favorite month, for me, the weather is simply miserable (during the daytime hours, by 5 pm though it starts to get nice out), it is generally drier which allows for the temperatures to get up into the lower 90s consistently. This is the month when I start praying for higher humidity as the temperature will not get as high with higher humidity. June 2012 was a particularly dry month, dewpoints were very low and we had over 30 consecutive days with 90+ temperatures, a few of them reaching the mid 90s!
Sounds odd huh, after all, “it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity”. Think again, when you see that drier air means significantly hotter temperatures and no fan or wind will make it cooler, you are going to realize that a little humidity is good, especially when it keeps temperatures down slightly and the wind will feel good against your moist skin.
Let’s not forget about the Saharan Dust that comes in occasionally, making the skies hazy and decreasing the air quality (not by much) which can affect very sensitive people. Usually the symptoms are runny nose and allergy-like symptoms, although some people with asthma have reported worse symptoms. I personally have never been affected by this, I even go out to run and have never had any adverse reactions to the presence of Saharan Dust, however if it rains while Saharan Dust is in the air, your car will get FILTHY!
July through September: Still in the “Saharan Dust Season” until September, and also still in the Hurricane season. Hurricane season reaches its peak in September, so starting in mid-August or so, we start getting a few more threats from tropical cyclones. Also, thunderstorms start once again to return as these months are wetter than June is. The interior and western sections of Puerto Rico are affected by thunderstorms consistently during these months.
October and November: Winding down in the Hurricane Season, and also starting to get slightly cooler. These are “transition” months in which we go from the “convective” (thunderstorm) season to a less than convective season. This however doesn’t mean it is dry. Actually, November is one of the wettest months of the year, especially for the San Juan metropolitan area and eastern Puerto Rico, the difference is that the rain is not always related to thunderstorms, the rain tends to be more like the persistent moderate to heavy rain. By mid November, cooler temperatures start to become much more apparent, November 30 marks the final day of the Hurricane Season. Much nicer weather is soon to come!
So as you can see, the climate in Puerto Rico is complex and interesting as well as amazing. Who would have thought the climate in Puerto Rico had so many changes, after all it is a tropical island!