Tag Archives: diurnal

Paso Robles Weather

Some people love to hear about weather and others kind of shrug. Still, the year-round weather in Paso Robles is unique with a different take on four seasons.

The weather on the Central Coast of California is varied in and of itself. There are the somewhat damp and foggy beach areas with the cool Pacific Ocean holding temperatures down while the Santa Lucia Range keeps the inland areas such as Paso Robles relatively warm and dry.

The assortment of micro-climes within this region, especially for San Luis Obispo County, vary widely and make this entire area weather distinctive. For instance, the south facing beaches such as Avila Beach have their own tiny zones, being warmer by 10 degrees or more over their neighbors just south of them such as Pismo Beach. San Luis Obispo which is only a handful of miles inland from this same beach area, has some of the mildest weather in the country.

As the crow flies 30 miles north of the city of San Luis Obispo on the other side of the Cuesta Grade sits Paso Robles. Mild isn’t in its repertoire, with cool wet and sometimes cold temperatures in the winter, Paso ends up with hot dry summers … and heavy winds thrown in at times during the first half of the year.

Winters are cool and wet

Paso Robles Flurry

Although Paso is certainly cold enough in the winter, snow is rare.

The winter year starts off in January with mostly cloudy wet weather and cold temps of 20 and 30s for lows and highs ranging from 40s all the way to 70. February offers little change from January except maybe slightly more rain, but not quite as cold temperatures. March can indeed roar in like a lion with cool rainy climes, however as spring eases into the mix, wet weather lightens and 70s become more regular with lows in the freezing range rare.

With Irish-like hills everywhere and some vineyards starting to green up as well, April offers up a unique range of weather not seen with any other month. The temperatures have warmed regularly into the 70s with occasional 80s popping up for highs. Lows have crept their way up into the 40s. Daytime temps bump up early in the day but strong fresh winds from the southwest blow cool air from the beaches inland and keep highs from being warmer than they otherwise would. By the end of April with its lively colors, showers are few and far between.

Windy season

Spring is often called the windy season for this region and May is no different. The difference from April though is the temps have notched their way up into 80s on a more regular basis – lows are still in the 40s. As the golden hillsides show up, June sees the incessant wind but potentially has the first 100s poking onto the scene. Lows are in the upper 40s to low 50s and the infamous Paso Robles diurnal can really show itself this time of year. For instance, personally I remember several years ago, a June day roared up to 106, but the low was 44 – a difference of 62 degrees. As a note, when in Paso, be prepared clothing-wise for wide ranging temps like this in a single day.

Summer in Paso Robles

July brings on the heat. 90s and 100s are the norm, with temps as high as 110 possible. The winds start letting up some by mid-summer and actually, August is almost a dead-ringer for July. Only difference between the two hot summer months is lesser winds for August. September ushers in some vague changes as the heat lessons slightly with more diverse highs ranging from 100 down to 80.

Fall starts hot but cools dramatically at year’s end

As the Autumn hues become vibrant, October starts off as a still warm part of the year, but ends with cooling temps that can see lows sporadically in the 30s. November strides in with cooler weather as highs struggle to stay in the 70s with lows regularly in the 30s. Thanksgiving has shown to be warm certain years with bright sunny temps, but then again, other years have seen cold conditions as winter makes an early entrance. With color gone from most of the Paso area, December is considered the coldest month of the year as the rainy season begins. Temperatures can see 20s for lows, and even teens can make an appearance. Highs range in the 50s and 60s.

That’s a trip around the year in Paso Robles. Winter offers mostly cold and wet weather transforming into a drier climate with a windy but relatively mild spring. Summer is hot and dry as is early fall before giving way to a cooler end of year.

Lately the weather has been dominated by a lack of rain with drought, and average-wise, temperatures have been warmer. Regardless, hope this gives a quick synopsis of weather in wine country on the Central Coast.

Cheers,

Daryle W. Hier

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What The Heck Is A Diurnal?

With Paso Robles As Example

A diurnal sounds like a … uh, uh uh, easy guys, this isn’t toilet humor (pun intended). Actually, diurnal has more than one meaning and we’re not dealing with a daily journal.Partial Earth

No, what we will talk about is the diurnal (meteorologically speaking) that means the difference between day and night pertaining to weather temperatures. And in Paso Robles, on the California Central Coast, we have a doozy.

Summers offer big diurnal

In its most basic description, the diurnal is a spread of temperatures relating the highest in one day to the lowest of that same day or within the next 24 hours. For instance, one of the first summers I had here in Paso, we had a high of 106 and a low of 44. That differential was 62 degrees – an amazing temperature swing for 24 hours. And in actuality, it wasn’t even 24 hours as the high was around 4:00 p.m. and the low was about 5:00 a.m. In roughly half a day, the diurnal was 62 degrees.

Although this anecdotal example is a bit on the extreme, this huge change isn’t that unusual in Paso Robles, especially during the summer month cycle and is an interesting aspect to the area. In fact, August has highs averaging in the low to mid 90s with lows in the low to mid 50s. June, July, September and October also have wide-ranging diurnals. 50 degree disparity in highs and lows is common fare in summer and early fall.

Desert vs Ocean

Without going into another entire story on temperatures in Paso, the area lies at the backside of the Coastal Range and typical of many regions in California, the temperatures soar in the late morning through mid afternoons. Sea breezes begin blowing in from the Pacific Ocean, working their way through the mountain passes and dramatically cooling the air – thus, large varying temperatures from night to day.

Ranches and orchards once dotted the landscape as much as vineyards do now.

A large diurnal allowed for ranches and orchards, which once dotted the Paso Robles landscape as much as vineyards do now.

A slight offshore keeping the marine layer away with warm air aloft during the day and a sun beating down, allows temperatures to climb quickly up. When the late afternoon winds bring in the much cooler air: voila! You have a large diurnal. It should be noted that humid regions and/or areas with bodies of water tend to have a low diurnal. When thinking about moderate diurnals, think Great Lakes region along with the Eastern Seaboard, Gulf Coast and the immediate coastal areas of the Pacific Northwest. They see little change from day to night in temperature swings.

Those that live in the desert might know about the large temperature variation or diurnal. The Great Basin (Nevada) has normally huge divergences between high and lows in one day. If you look up wide swings in diurnal temperatures, you will inevitably hear about the Upper Plains like the Dakotas also having tremendous climatic variances – due in part to not having any large body of water to moderate the temperature. The continental landlocked plains of the Central Asian Steppe region also has severe temperature fluctuations due to lack of any major body of water. The record diurnal at 100 degrees is held by the small town of Browning, in northwestern Montana (source: National Park Service).

Mongolia

The Mongolian highlands or Steppe region is one of the areas of the world where the diurnal is wide ranging.

A day in Paso

Breaking the diurnal down inside a day, the greatest change is normally from late afternoon before the sun is low in the sky until just after sunset. Normally here in Paso, it might be 90 in summer on a typical late afternoon around 6:00 p.m. and by 9:00 p.m. it could be 65, possibly changing more than 10 degrees in one hour. By the way, several years ago, shortly after leaving a winery on a blistering hot August day, I looked up on the temperature inside the car and it read 110 degrees outside … and it was 5:30 p.m. And still the lows were in the 50s.

Paso Robles is generally a dry region and the only reason it isn’t a desert more so like the Central Valley – such as Bakersfield (100 miles east) where day time Summer temperatures don’t drop as severely in the evenings – is the effects of the Coastal Range; plus, Paso is only 20 miles from the ocean and the water temperatures blow in to keep it cooler.

Carrizo Plain

The lands just southeast of Paso Robles called the Carrizo Plain has quite a divergence between high and lows called a diurnal.

Soon I will be talking about how that diurnal directly affects Paso Robles and its grape vines. Hopefully this didn’t confuse you and I didn’t confuse myself – it has been done. Daily diurnal cycles are interesting characteristics of weather and your daily life, so the next time someone asks you about diurnals, now you know. And no, it doesn’t have anything to do with strange restrooms … keep it clean.  😉

Additional source: Idaho State University, Wunderground.com, State of California

Salootie Patootie,

Daryle W. Hier

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