Climate and monthly weather forecast
Puerto Rico, USA

Flag of Puerto Rico, USA
Flag of Puerto Rico, USA

The climate of Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico has a tropical rainforest type of climate (Köppen climate classification Af), with a mostly hot and humid atmosphere during the year. Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the United States, about 1000 miles southeast of the state of Florida. The archipelago lies in the northeastern Caribbean Sea between the US Virgin Islands and the Dominican Republic. Easterly trade winds, tropical latitudes, mountainous landscapes, and engulfment by the sea are the primary factors that influence the climate.

Puerto Rico lies 18°north of the equator and comprises of the main island of Puerto Rico and many small islands and islets. The island consists of a central mountain range and has a mountainous topography, with the highest elevation of 1340 meters at Cerro de Punta. The Cordillera Central Mountain Range blocks trade winds and causes local variations in temperatures and rainfall. Large swathes of coasts lie in the north and south, as the main island spans 110 miles from east to west but only 40 miles from north to south. Puerto Rico has more than 50 rivers and 17 lakes and is home to the tropical El Yunque National Forest.

Puerto Rico is mostly hot and humid, with two different seasons. The wet season lasts from April to November and brings more than 80% of the annual rainfall. The dry season is from December to March and sees a small drop in temperatures and humidity.
The average high temperature reaches 89°F (31.7°C) at the peak of August, while the average low temperature is at its lowest of 72°F (22.2°C) in January. The northern and central regions are cooler than the south by a few degrees. The coastal lands and lower elevations are hotter than the high mountains. Sea waters are mild to warm and register in the average range of 75°F (23.9°C) to 85°F (29.4°C) over the year.

The average annual rainfall is 56" (1422mm), with 196 rainy days in the year. November is the wettest month of the year, and it rains at least 5" (127mm) every month during the wet season. The northern part of the archipelago is wetter than the rest. The relative humidity is mostly in the range of 70% to 80%, with an average annual number of 77%. Puerto Rico receives ample annual sunshine of 3100 hours. Tropical cyclones contribute one-fourth of the annual rainfall. Easterly winds dominate the wind pattern with average speeds of 20 to 22mph (35.4km/h).

The highest temperature on record for Puerto Rico is 103°F (39.4°C) at San Lorenzo, while the record lowest temperature is 38°F (3.3°C), set in Aibonito, in the mountains.

The best time to visit Puerto Rico

The best time to visit Puerto Rico is from January to April when the temperatures are relatively mild in the dry season. The tropical islands do not have a winter season, but the temperatures drop up to 6°F (-14.4°C) from the highs of August and September. The tourist season peaks between January to March, but people who prefer to avoid crowds like April and May. The dry season has comfortable weather and relatively lesser rainfall than the rest of the year. The windward sides of the mountains are rainier than the coast.

The worst time to visit Puerto Rico

The worst time to visit Puerto Rico is from August to October in the wet season. The conditions are hot and humid, and the heat index peaks in August. Precipitation occurs regularly in this period and contributes a significant percentage of the annual rainfall. The hurricane season is at its peak, and the probability of tropical storms is at the highest of the year. The intensity of the tropical sun is at its peak and is unbearable for people from the temperate zones of the world.

Weather hazards

Puerto Rico is vulnerable to thunderstorms, tropical cyclones, hurricanes, typhoons, tornadoes, and high-speed winds. The islands experience the Atlantic hurricane season from June to November. The latest, category 5 Hurricane Irma in 2017, saw wind speeds up to 180mph (289.7km/h), while Hurricane Maria brought heavy rainfall of 38" (965mm), and large scale destruction. Hurricanes cause damages in billions of dollars and loss of human lives. Thunderstorms are frequent in the entire area, along with tropical waves and tropical cyclones. Landfalls made by storms have a severe consequence on the island's infrastructure. The islands are susceptible to seismic activity and resultant tsunamis.

Weather in January

January is usually the coldest month of the year in Puerto Rico, with the average temperatures in the warm 72°F (22.2°C) to 83°F (28.3°C) range. San Juan, the capital, is busy with tourists from all over the world, crowding the place during the New Year. Weather in January »

Weather in February

February sees pleasant conditions in Puerto Rico, with mostly blue skies amid little rain. The average temperatures are in the comfortable 72°F (22.2°C) to 84°F (28.9°C) range, with 8 hours of bright sunshine. Mornings begin in a cool environment, and the warm afternoon sunshine aids outdoor activities. Weather in February »

Weather in March

March is the driest month of the year in Puerto Rico, with only 2" (51mm) of rain. Blue skies and calm seawaters await visitors in the warm atmosphere of the tropical islands. The average temperatures are in the 73°F (22.8°C) to 85°F (29.4°C) range, with rare extremes. Weather in March »

Weather in April

April begins the transition to the wet season in Puerto Rico with an increase in precipitation and humidity. Day temperatures average a high of 86°F (30°C), while nights are mild at 74°F (23.3°C). The skies are partly cloudy, especially at noontime, and the average precipitation is 4.7" (119mm) in the month. Weather in April »

Weather in May

May is the wet, hot, and humid in Puerto Rico as the rainy season takes hold in the islands. The average temperatures are in the 76°F (24.4°C) to 87°F (30.6°C) range, and the heat is oppressive. The blazing sun emits peak ultraviolet radiation at a level of 12 and makes it challenging to venture outdoors past mid-mornings. Weather in May »

Weather in June

June begins the hurricane season in Puerto Rico that brings sudden changes in the weather. Wind speeds rise dramatically, and the usually calm waters see much disturbance. Waves more than 20-feet high are common, but add thrill to surfing. Weather in June »

Weather in July

July is a hot and humid month in Puerto Rico, with an average of 280 hours of bright sunshine. The average temperatures are between 78°F (25.6°C) and 89°F (31.7°C), and the relative humidity is at 78%, the highest monthly average of the year. The skies are partly cloudy, and the 5" (127mm) of rainfall mainly occurs during thunderstorms and tropical storms. Weather in July »

Weather in August

August is the hottest month of the year in Puerto Rico, with average temperatures in the 79°F (26.1°C) to 89°F (31.7°C) range. The wet month brings an average of 5.5" (140mm) of rain in the islands and experiences the highest incidences of thunderstorms and hurricanes in the year. Weather in August »

Weather in September

September is a hot month in the rainy season in Puerto Rico with usually muggy conditions. Mornings and evenings are the best time to visit beaches, swim, walk or relax on the white sands. The probability of rainfall is the highest during the afternoon, which is also the period of stifling hot weather. Weather in September »

Weather in October

October reverses the peak heat conditions in Puerto Rico as the temperatures gradually decrease by the end of the month. The day high temperatures average below 88°F (31.1°C), and the nights dip to 76°F (24.4°C). The sunshine lasts for a daily 7.5 hours, and the rays are less intense compared to peak summer. Weather in October »

Weather in November

November is the wettest month in Puerto Rico with an average of 6.4" (163mm) of rain. The average temperatures range between 75°F (23.9°C) to 84°F (28.9°C), and the days are sunny with patches of rain in the afternoons. Heavy rains can cause widespread flooding, and storms can cause significant damage to infrastructure. High tidal waves are frequent during storms along with high-speed winds that cause hotels to shut down due to rough weather. Weather in November »

Weather in December

December is a transitional month in Puerto Rico that sees the reversal of the wet season. The average temperatures are in the 73°F (22.8°C) to 84°F (28.9°C) and see a gradual drop by the end of the month. Puerto Rico hardly has any winter cold due to its tropical location, and cold air from the poles does not travel till the tropics. December still sees 20 wet days and 5" (127mm) of rain, but the cycle decisively shifts towards the dry season. Weather in December »


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