Weather in Shanghai: Climate, Seasons, and Average Monthly Temperature

Heavy Rain in Shanghai

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Shanghai has a subtropical maritime monsoon climate, meaning high humidity and lots of rain. Hot muggy summers, cool falls, cold winters with little snow, and warm springs are the norm. Midsummer through early fall is the best time to visit Shanghai.

From June through October, the city experiences the sunniest days of the year (though summer is also its rainiest period). Air pollution levels are lowest then, too. Typhoon season is from June to November, but they are not as common as in southern China. However, if you want to go during a season with very low humidity (but high levels of pollution), winter will be your jam.

  • Hottest Month: July (90 degrees F / 32 degrees C)
  • Coldest Month: January (34 degrees F / 1 degree C)
  • Wettest Month: August (8.5 inches)
  • Windiest Month: April (11.8 mph)

Monsoons and Typhoons in Shanghai

The Swiss Re's insurance company ranks Shanghai as one of the top 10 riskiest cities in the world for natural disasters. Its monsoons bring heavy rains and occasionally, typhoons. Should this occur while you are in the city, stay indoors until the storm passes. To completely avoid monsoons and typhoons, go in the winter or spring.

Summer in Shanghai

Summers in Shanghai bring the most sunshine of the year (four to six hours per day). Pollution levels start to lower during the beginning of summer and continue throughout the fall. Summer is the rainiest season, too. While blessed by its proximity to the Yangtze River, the Shanghainese feel its wrath in the form of 100 percent humidity in July. However, winds from the East China Sea grace the city during the summer, helping to temper the sweltering heat.

During sunny days, visitors can enjoy Jinshan Beach in the southwestern suburbs of Shanghai (though it’s not possible to swim there). If you really want to swim, head to Songlanshan Beach or Putuoshan Island.

What to pack: Prepare for sun and rain. Take an umbrella and a lightweight, durable raincoat. Bring sunscreen, sunglasses, sleeveless shirts, shorts, flip flops, waterproof shoes, and a swimsuit.

Average Temperatures by Month

June: 82 degrees F / 72 degrees F (28 degrees C / 22 degrees C)

July: 90 degrees F / 79 degrees F (32 degrees C / 26 degrees C)

August: 90 degrees F / 79 degrees F (32 degrees C / 26 degrees C)

Fall in Shanghai

Sunnier than spring and cooler than summer, fall also has the bonus of some of the lowest pollution levels of the year in September and October. (But look out for November when pollution levels rise dramatically and night temps become chilly.) Fall begins with warm weather which gets progressively cooler throughout the season. This is the driest season in Shanghai, though it still rains.

Avoid visiting in the first week of October as the city will be swarming with domestic travelers. However, come soon after to experience the start of hairy crab season—a classic Shanghainese phenomenon in which hairy crab dishes overtake the city’s restaurants, markets, and vending machines.

What to pack: Bring clothing you can layer. Pack shorts and T-shirts for the day, and a sweater or light jackets, jeans, and sweatpants for the night. Bring a warm coat if you travel in November.

Average Temperatures by Month

September: 82 degrees F / 72 degrees F (28 degrees C / 22 degrees C)

October: 73 degrees F / 63 degrees F (23 degrees C / 17 degrees C)

November: 63 degrees F / 52 degrees F (17 degrees C / 11 degrees C)

Winter in Shanghai

Shanghai winters are cold and blustery but with low humidity. Northerlies blow in from Siberia starting in mid-November and continue throughout the winter. Snow is possible, but usually falls only one or two days a year. Night temperatures can drop below freezing, especially from late January through February.

Like Beijing, Shanghai’s highest pollution levels are in the winter. Get an air quality tracker on your phone to be aware of dangerous PMI 2.5 levels.

What to pack: Pack a heavy coat scarf, gloves, warm shoes, and clothing you can layer. Long underwear can help make the cold winds bearable. Pack multivitamins (which help with exposure to pollution) and a mask rated N99 or N100, if you are concerned about air quality.

Average Temperatures by Month

December: 52 degrees F / 41 degrees F (11 degrees C / 5 degrees C)

January: 46 degrees F / 36 degrees F (8 degrees C / 2 degrees C)

February: 50 degrees F / 39 degrees F (10 degrees C / 4 degrees C)

Spring in Shanghai

The average temperature in spring is 59 degrees F (15 degrees C), and while it frequently rains, the humidity is low. Shanghai springs are known for temperature fluctuations, and you should come prepared for warm or cool weather. Also, be aware of the humidity which starts to rise in March and continues through May, climbing to 25 percent.

Shanghai hosts many events in the spring as well, including the Peach Blossom Festival, Shanghai Fashion Week, and music and literary festivals.

What to pack: Pack for both warm and cool weather. Take a lightweight raincoat, sneakers, flip flops, sunscreen, sunglasses, shorts, T-shirts, and clothing that dries quickly.

Average Temperatures by Month

March: 57 degrees F / 45 degrees F (14 degrees C / 7 degrees C)

April: 68 degrees F / 54 degrees F (20 degrees C / 12 degrees C)

May: 77 degrees F / 63 degrees F (25 degrees C / 17 degrees C)

Average Monthly Temperature, Rainfall and Daylight Hours

Here's what to expect in terms of average temperature, inches of rain, and daylight hours throughout the year.

  • January: 39 F (4 C); 3 inches; 10.2 hours
  • February: 43 F (6 C); 2.4 inches; 11 hours
  • March: 48 F (9 C); 3.7 inches; 12 hours
  • April: 59 F(15 C); 3 inches; 13 hours
  • May: 68 F (20 C); 3.3 inches; 13 hours
  • June: 75 F (24 C); 7.1 inches; 14 hours
  • July: 90 F (32 C); 5.7 inches; 14 hours
  • August: 84 F (29 C); 8.5 inches; 13 hours
  • September: 75 F (24 C); 3.3 inches; 12 hours
  • October: 66 F (19 C); 2.2 inches; 11 hours
  • November: 55 F (13 C); 2 inches; 10 hours
  • December: 45 F (7 C); 1.8 inches; 10 hours
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