Shanghai sits on the vast
Yangtze River delta on China’s east
coast, around half way between Hong Kong and Beijing. With a
massive 20 million inhabitants, it is large city and one of the world’s largest
has a humid subtropical climate marked by four distinct seasons. Climate is strongly
influenced by the Asiatic monsoon winds and the city’s coastal position on the East China Sea. Temperatures vary from the mid 30s in
summer to below 0°C in winter. The weather is pretty good year round, although
summer can get a little hot and muggy for some and winter is pretty harsh. On
balance, autumn enjoys the best weather of the year.
This is the hottest and wettest time of year in Shanghai. In June the
average temperature climbs to 24°C with highs averaging at 27°C. July and
August are the hottest months of the year when the average temperature reaches
highs climb to 32°C and beyond - even up to 40°C - and it doesn’t drop much
below 25°C at night. From September it starts to cool, but it is still a very hot
The summer heat is often punctuated by heavy rains, usually
falling in afternoon thunderstorms that are heavy but short-lived. The heat and
precipitation make summer very humid and the overall effect is oppressive. The
wettest months are June and September with over 150mm average
rainfall each. July and August average around 130mm. Summer thunderstorms
can sometimes bring very heavy rain to Shanghai
and there is a risk of flooding in certain parts of the city.
can occasionally be hit by typhoons, although direct hits are rare. These
intense storms form in the northwest Pacific Ocean
and if they make land they can cause enormous damage. Typhoon season runs from
May to November.
September 2007 saw Shanghai
come in the path of a very strong typhoon that led to 1.6million people being
evacuated from the city and its surrounds. The region is very well prepared,
however, and often it is just a case of closing the doors and windows and
sheltering indoors for 24 hours.
This is one of the best times to visit Shanghai. Temperatures are very comfortable
and rainfall is low. Late September and early October are
especially good times; the summer rains have died down and temperatures range
between the mid teens and mid 20s. October averages just 60mm rainfall, a sharp
decline from the 160mm that is the norm for September. November rainfall is
even less around 50mm and it’s another great month, though it sees the first
cool temperatures with night time lows dropping to single figures. Daily highs
are still in the high teens, however.
Winter can be cold in Shanghai,
although its coastal position does mean temperatures don’t drop as low as in
inland areas. January is the coldest month of the year, with an average of 4°C,
ranging from lows of 0°C to highs of 8°C. December and January are only a
little warmer, averaging around 6°C or 7°C. While temperatures
below zero are rare they can occur during particularly cold snaps, and snow can
even fall. Winter is the driest time of the year in Shanghai, and the abundance of sunshine
makes it very pretty. However, strong winds can make it feel much cooler than
the recorded temperature.
Spring is another good time to visit Shanghai. Temperatures are a little cooler
than autumn and rain a little more frequent but the weather is generally very
pleasant. March is still cool, with an average of 9°C, but temperatures quickly
increase throughout spring with May averaging
20°C. Rainfall quickly increases too, however, with April and May seeing the
first of the heavy rains and averaging over 100mm.