Southern California Weather: What’s It Really Like?


By Chloe Mandel ’23

blue skies with palm treesComing from the Northeast, I pictured Southern California as the warm, sunny paradise depicted in movies and TV shows. Though I expected some cold nights, I mostly stuffed my suitcases for college with tank tops, jean shorts, and sandals, throwing in a few sweaters “just in case.” A few months into the semester, however, I realized just how surprising the SoCal climate could be. Here’s a complete breakdown of the weather you can expect at Pomona.

August – September: My most vivid memories of orientation week are the heat and the strength of the sun. I recall chugging water during Move-In Day and any outdoor Sponsor Group activities, frantically re-applying my sunblock, and wearing the lightest, breeziest outfits possible. Though the weather was absolutely dreamy at night (perfect shorts weather with cool breezes), the sun was unforgiving during the day. In late September, the heat began to back off, and my dorm room became less of a refuge from the sun and more of a simply pleasant place to spend time—I remember rejoicing the first evening I could comfortably wear a sweatshirt outside.

Fall trees changing colors in ClaremontOctober – December: In October, nighttime temperatures dipped as the daytime air became much more enjoyable. Early that month I asked my mom to send me some warmer clothing, realizing I hadn’t come prepared. Halloween night was particularly chilly, and by Thanksgiving I was usually wearing jeans and long sleeves to class. Strangely, during the first two weeks of December, the leaves on some of Pomona’s trees changed color, creating a kind of Claremont fall. While I’m partial to New England’s October foliage, the change of scenery certainly brightened up finals week. The cold nights, too, made studying in the library much cozier and more appealing.

January – March: Winter in Claremont is idyllic in my opinion—daytime temperatures typically stayed in the 60’s and 70’s. There were more cloudy and rainy days during these months, but it was nice to get a short break from the sun from time to time. Leading into March, flowers bloomed all over campus. The smell of honeysuckle made my walks to class all the more enjoyable, and the crisp-but-not-cold air was a welcome change from the harsh, icy winds I experienced in my hometown during winter break.

Rose gardenMarch – May: Though I left campus in March due to the coronavirus outbreak, having visited SoCal through the years both to see my grandparents and during my college search process, I can attempt to describe the area’s spring weather. In late March and April, average temperatures reach the high 70’s, and spring is in full bloom. As I remember from visiting, Pomona’s campus is absolutely gorgeous in April. May brings another temperature rise as summer draws ever closer; by the time Pomona students would typically finish second semester, temperatures are in the 80’s.


flowering treeAugust/September heat aside, Claremont weather has been extremely kind to me. Escaping Connecticut’s freezing winters and humid springs (never underestimate how much worse high humidity can make a hot day) was one of the best decisions I made about my college experience. Whether I declare myself a West Coast convert or head back east after college, I’ll cherish the daily comfort of walking to class without shivering.