FAIRFIELD — There are two seasons in Solano County, which you can tell from the color of the hills – golden brown and light green.
The golden brown season runs for much of the year, due to a long, warm, dry season that starts in mid-spring and extends to late fall. That is followed by a short, somewhat rainy light-green season that runs from late November to early spring.
That is all thanks to a benign climate that local residents like because it neither gets as hot as it can in the Central Valley to the east nor too cold like it can on the Pacific Coast on the other side of the coastal mountains to the west.
Solano County, located between the central San Francisco Bay Area and the Central Valley, offers several moderate variations on this climate.
Cooler, maritime temperatures with a touch of morning fog can be found along the shores of the Carquinez Strait in Vallejo and Benicia in western Solano County, with sunny, breezy afternoons with average temperatures in the high 70s.
Dixon and Vacaville in northeastern Solano County have hotter summer temperatures that average into the 90s, due to hills that block the most of the Delta breezes, which cool off the western side of the county.
If there is an average climate to be found, it is in the Fairfield and Suisun City areas in central Solano County, with hot temperatures offset by the west winds from the Carquinez Straits.
Solano County’s average temperature is 60.4 degrees, which is only about a degree lower than the state’s average of 61.1 degrees. It is still much higher than the national average of 54.4 degrees, according to 32 years of data collected by USA.com.
The county’s maximum high temperatures peak in July, with an average of 91 degrees, while Solano County gets coldest in January with an average minimum of 37.7 degrees.
An average of 26.7 inches of rain falls on Solano County annually, nearly four inches more than the state average of 22.9 inches. Residents can expect to need an umbrella only about 43 days per year. Solano County gets most of its rain during a five-month period that starts in late November.
These temperatures and rainfall have made areas such as Suisun Valley, Green Valley and the Vacaville prime land for orchards and vineyards, while making the Montezuma Hills and the area around Dixon excellent for ranching.
The average wind speed is 16.3 mph countywide, but some parts of the county – such as Cordelia Villages and the southern rolling hills with their population of wind turbines – get some good, steady breezes.
Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ithompsondr.