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The climate of Sri Lanka: when to go to Sri Lanka

The island of Sri Lanka has an equatorial climate, with rather mild temperature ranges. Due to the influx of monsoons, the island has two distinct climatic seasons: a dry season and a wet season.

A CLIMATE INFLUENCED BY MONSOONS

Monsoons mainly affect the rain regime. The southwest monsoon brings rain on the central highlands and along the southern and western coasts of the island, such rains occur between May and September. This monsoon brings phenomena of strong intensity and makes the south-western coast and the mountainous slopes of the central-southern highlands the rainiest areas of the island. In these areas, the rainfall exceeds 2,500 mm per year.

The northeast monsoon affects the climate and rainfall patterns of the northern and eastern coasts of Sri Lanka. This monsoon causes the rainy season along these areas of the island between October and January. The north-east monsoon is less intense than the south-west monsoon, which means that the northern and eastern areas of the island are more arid, in fact they receive between 600 mm and 1,200 mm of rain per year.

The rains, however, are not only regulated by the monsoons, they, in the areas close to the equator such as Sri Lanka, are also influenced by the so-called zenithal rains, that is, the rains that occur in correspondence with the passages of the sun at the zenith. This means that the rainfall is intense even in April-May and October-November. The rains usually occur between the afternoon and the night.

The combined effect of the monsoon and the zenithal rains is clearly visible in the rain chart of the capital Colombo, which is located along the southwest coast. Here there are two periods of intense rain, corresponding to the months between April and May and between September and November, here the dry period is reduced to the months of January and February.

STABLE TEMPERATURES IN EVERY PERIOD OF THE YEAR

The temperatures instead present a more stable picture, the average maximum temperatures vary between 30 ° C and 33 ° C along the western coast and between 28 ° C and 35 ° C along the eastern coast. While the average minimum temperatures vary between 22 ° C and 25 ° C along the western coast and between 24 ° C and 26 ° C along the eastern coast.

In the highlands of the interior, temperatures are lower due to the altitude. In Kandy (500 meters high) the average maximum temperatures vary between 28 ° C and 31 ° C, while the average minimum temperatures vary between 18 ° C and 21 ° C. At higher altitudes such as in Nuwara Eliya (1,990 meters), the average maximum temperatures vary between 18 ° C in July and 23 ° in April, while the average minimum temperatures vary between 9 ° C in January and 13 ° C in June .

The sea water temperature is constantly between 27 ° C and 30 ° C and makes swimming in the sea excellent all year round.

WHEN TO GO TO SRI LANKA

The island can be visited at any time of the year, just choose the least rainy part of Sri Lanka. To visit the western and southern coast and the inland highlands, the best months are the driest and least rainy months between December and March. While for a stay along the east coast the best months are between March and September.

SRI LANKA CLIMATE: CLIMATIC TABLES

COLOMBO (2 meters)
Month Average low (°C) Average high (°C) Precip. (mm) Precip. days
January 22,3 31,0 58,2  5
February 22,7 31,2 72,7  5
March 23,7 31,7 128,0  9
April 24,6 31,8 245,6  14
May 25,5 31,1 392,4  16
June 25,5 30,4 184,9  16
July 25,1 30,0 121,9  12
August 25,1 30,0 119,5  11
September 24,8 30,2 245,4  15
October 24,0 30,0 365,4  17
November 23,2 30,2 414,4  15
December 22,8 30,4 175,3  10
YEAR 24,1 30,7 2523,7  145
KANDY (500 meters)
Month Average low (°C) Average high (°C) Precip. (mm) Precip. days
January 18 27 79  6
February 18 28 74  5
March 18 30 71  8
April 20 30 188  14
May 20 29 144  11
June 20 28 132  15
July 20 27 128  14
August 19 28 113  13
September 19 28 155  13
October 19 28 264  17
November 19 27 296  16
December 18 27 196  14
YEAR 19,0 28,1 1840  146
TRINCOMALEE (8 meters)
Month Average low (°C) Average high (°C) Precip. (mm) Precip. days
January 24,3 27,9 132  7
February 24,5 29,2 100  4
March 25,1 30,9 54  4
April 25,8 33,0 50  5
May 26,4 34,5 52  4
June 26,4 34,7 26  2
July 25,8 34,4 70  4
August 25,5 34,2 89  5
September 25,2 33,9 104  7
October 24,6 31,8 217  12
November 24,2 29,3 334  16
December 24,2 28,1 341  16
YEAR 25,2 31,8 1569  86

KALUTARA
Month Sea Water Temperature °C
January 28
February 28
March 29
April 30
May 29
June 28
July 27
August 27
September 28
October 28
November 28
December 28

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