Monterey County Climate

The Mediterranean Climate of the Salinas Valley supports nearly year-round food production…one of the few places in the world where veggies and berries can be grown nearly continuously.

Monterey County is favored with a generally mild climate.  Temperatures near the coast are uniform throughout the year, but the range widens as distance from the water increases.  At inland locations, summers are warm to hot and winters have minimum readings well below freezing.

Our Growing Season

The growing season is as short as 150 days in some mountain areas, but ranges from 200 days to more than 350 days in most areas where cultivated crops are grown.

Precipitation is concentrated in winter.  Totals range from about 10 inches in drier locations to near slightly above 80 inches in the coastal mountains.  Snowfall in the county is generally insignificant, although a limited amount is received each winter at the higher elevations.

Evaporation is moderate along the coast and fairly high inland.  Relative humidity is generally moderate but low readings occur in inland areas in summer and fall.

Abundant Sunshine and Cool Temps

Abundant sunshine is characteristic of the inland area, but coastal areas and the coastal end of the Salinas Valley are subject to considerable cloudiness in summer.  Much of this cloudiness, however, occurs during night and morning hours.

Winds are mostly less than 10 to 15 miles per hour, though stronger winds are common to some areas along the coast.  Winter storms produces some damaging winds, particularly in open areas and at higher elevations.

The above text is from the report SOIL SURVEY OF MONTEREY COUNTY, CALIFORNIA first published in 1972.  Author is Terry D. Cook, Soil Conservation Service. 

Weather patterns in Monterey County have not changed much from this analysis; the basic patterns of cooler temperatures in the coastal zone continues to support the production of strawberries, artichokes, leafy greens, and vegetables, while the warmer climes south of Gonzales are favorable to wine grape production.