Palm Springs Weather and Climate

Welcome to Palm Springs
©Betsy Malloy Photography

In general, Palm Springs has a desert climate, with scorching, dry summers, pleasant winters, lots of sunshine, and little rainfall. In fact, Palm Springs is sunny (on average) more than 350 days every year. Like most deserts, it cools off fast at night, but on the hottest days, not soon enough.

If you look beyond the generalities, there are more things you need to know about Palm Springs weather. A 10-minute rainstorm that can flood the whole city, blowing can block the roads for days, and

You'll find details about all of that below.

If you're reading this, you're probably thinking about visiting Palm Springs. To plan your trip the easy way, check this guide to spending a day or a weekend in Palm Springs.

01 of 08

Palm Springs Desert Climate

Homesteader's Cabin in the Desert Near Palm Springs
©2009 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.

You will find seasonal and monthly averages below, but there are a few other things you need to know about weather in Palm Springs that aren't tied to any season.

Any time of year, the temperature at the top of the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway — which is at 8,500 feet elevation — can be 30°F lower than in downtown.

Expect dry conditions, with daytime humidity that ranges from 13 percent in August to zero between October and May.

What to Pack Any Time of Year: These are things you should think about packing no matter when you plan to visit Palm Springs.

Much of the year, Palm Springs is so dry that a fire could break out in the river. Avoid an emergency trip to the local store by taking lots of lotion, moisturizer, and eyedrops. If your nose tends to dry out quickly, add a bottle of saline nose spray to keep it moister. And if your hair tends to fall flat in dry weather, bring additional products to keep it fluffed up.

It's hard to stay hydrated in the desert. If you plan to do a driving tour, pack a small, collapsible ice chest to carry a few cold drinks and snacks. Sturdy shoes with thick soles and good traction are essential if you plan to go hiking.

Use these tips to get more ideas about what you might need to pack.

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02 of 08

Urgent Seasonal Information: Desert Storms

Palm Springs Windmills During a Dust Storm

 Stephanie Sawyer/Moment

All of those electricity-generating windmills outside of Palm Springs are a hint about something the visitor's bureau won't tell you: it can be very windy.

The National Weather Service will issue a Blowing Dust Advisory or Dust Storm Warning if/when radar indicates a dust storm moving in. 

Sand Storms

The windy season is April through June. During that time, average wind speed is 7 to 8 miles per hour compared to 5 to 6 miles per hour for the rest of the year, but that's not the whole story.

Most often between April and June (but as early as February), high-pressure weather systems from the California coast collide with normal low pressure at the San Gorgonio Pass.

That makes the wind speed up, and not just a little. It can blow up to 60 miles per hour.

The wind kicks up fine dust from the desert floor that fills the air. At the worst, blowing sand can pile up three feet thick, closing streets until the sand plows can remove it.

During an extreme storm In June 1979, record blasts of 103 miles per hour toppled trucks and blowing sand stripped the paint off cars left outdoors.

If you get stuck in Palm Springs during a windstorm, set your car's air intake to recirculate. Go to the area closest to the mountains on the south end of town where it will be calmer. And try to find indoor activities: The blowing dust is a health risk.

Haboobs

A haboob is also a dust storm, characterized by a wall of blowing dust and dirt and generated by thunderstorms.  It happens less often than a sand storm, occurring during the summer monsoon season in July and August.

The same precautions you would take for a sand storm apply, except that the calmer areas may be different.

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03 of 08

Fast Climate Facts

  • Hottest Month: August (106 F)
  • Coldest Months: December and January (69 to 70 F)
  • Wettest Month: January (1 inch)
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04 of 08

Palm Springs in the Spring

Palm Springs Golf Course

 James RandklevThe Image Bank / Getty Images Plus

Palm Springs is a popular spring break destination, but by May, it's starting to get too uncomfortably hot.

What to Pack: See the general packing tips above that are good all year long. In spring, the days will be warm, but the desert cools off fast after sunset, and you'll be glad you packed an extra layer to wear in the evening.

Temperatures and Rainfall by Month

  • March: 79 F / 46 F / 0.5 in
  • April: 87 F / 52 F / 0.1 in
  • May: 94 F / 57 F / 0.1 in
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05 of 08

Palm Springs in the Summer

Bright Sun in Palm Springs

 Katie Ballis/Image Source

Summer is almost unbearably hot in Palm Springs. How hot can it get? The highest recorded temperature was 123°F in 1995. That's so hot that it's hard to enjoy being outdoors for any reason.

If you're that rare individual who loves a blisteringly hot day, Palm Springs is the place for you. Otherwise, plan your trip during a cooler part of the year.

July and August are also the monsoon season in the desert, and those seemingly low rainfall amounts can fall in such a short time that they cause floods.

What to Pack: See the general packing tips above that are good all year long. In the hottest part of summer, you might not think you will need extra layers, but you will. That's because every place you go into will have their air conditioner blasting.

Cooling neck wraps are a big help on hot days. Sold at sporting goods stores, they contain a gel that soaks up water, then keeps you cool as it evaporates. Small, personal misters can also keep you feeling comfortable.

Temperatures and Rainfall by Month

  • June: 102 F / 64 F / 0.1 in
  • July: 102 F / 64 F / 0.3 in
  • August: 106 F / 71 F / 0.4 in

The air in Palm Springs is moistureless most of the year, but between July and September, it rises, reaching up to 13 percent in August. That may not sound like much to you, but when combined with the high temperatures, it will feel muggy.

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06 of 08

Palm Springs in the Fall

Early fall can still be quite hot, but temperatures fall to more comfortable levels by mid-October. And November begins the best time of year to go to Palm Springs.

What to Pack: See the general packing tips above that are good all year long.

While it's still hot, you may need an extra layer for indoor locations that overdo the air conditioning. In November, days are warm, but the desert cools off fast after sunset, and you may need an extra layer in the evening.

Cooling neck wraps will still be a big help in September and October. Sold at sporting goods stores and online, they contain a gel that soaks up water, then keeps you cool as it evaporates. Small, personal misters can also keep you feeling comfortable.

Temperatures and Rainfall by Month

  • September: 102 F / 66 F / 0.4 in
  • October: 91 F / 57 F / 0.3 in
  • November: 78 F / 46 F / 0.7 in
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07 of 08

Palm Springs in the Winter

Snow at the Palm Springs Tramway

 Emily Riddell/Lonely Planet Images / Getty Images Plus

In the winter, Palm Springs temperatures are moderate. It's also the rainy season. That doesn't stop visitors from flocking there, especially if they are trying to escape cold, snowy winters elsewhere.

The last time it snowed in Palm Springs was 1979, when a flurry was enough to close schools for the day. However, it snows more often in the surrounding mountains, and the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway can whisk you up to the snow (and lots of snow-based activities) in minutes.

What to Pack: See the general packing tips above that are good all year long. You're unlikely to need an umbrella or raincoat - Palm Springs' rainiest month (February) brings only a little over an inch of rain.

The desert cools off fast after sunset, and you will definitely need an extra layer in the evening.

Temperatures and Rainfall by Month

  • December: 70 F / 41 F / 0.8 in
  • January: 69 F / 40 F / 1 in
  • February: 72 F / 43 F / 0.8 in
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08 of 08

Palm Springs Climate Graph

Average climate in Palm Springs (English Units)
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