Saint-Louis Climate & Monthly Temperature Overview – Senegal

Climate and Average Weather Year Round in Saint-Louis, Senegal

Saint-Louis, Senegal experiences a tropical savanna climate characterized by two distinct seasons: a dry season from November to April and a rainy season from May to October. The city is located in the northern part of the country, close to the Atlantic coast.

During the dry season, temperatures are generally mild and humidity is low. The average temperature in January, the coolest month, is around 21°C (70°F). In April, the hottest month, temperatures average around 30°C (86°F). Rainfall is rare during the dry season, with most of the annual precipitation occurring during the rainy season.

The rainy season is characterized by heavy rainfall and high humidity. The average annual rainfall is around 600 mm (24 in), with most of it falling between June and September. The rainy season also brings with it an increase in mosquitoes and other insects. During the rainy season, temperatures average around 27°C (81°F) and humidity is typically around 80%.

Monthly Variations

Saint-Louis experiences warm temperatures throughout the year, with an average annual temperature of 26.5°C (79.7°F). The warmest months are May and June, when the average high temperature climbs to around 33°C (91°F). The coolest months are January and February, when the average low temperature drops to around 18°C (64°F).

Seasonal Patterns

Saint-Louis’ climate is influenced by the alternating cycle of the monsoon seasons. The rainy season, known as the “hivernage,” typically lasts from July to October. During this period, the city receives the majority of its annual rainfall and temperatures are generally lower due to increased cloud cover. The dry season, known as the “hivernage,” typically lasts from November to June. During this period, temperatures are hotter, humidity is lower, and rainfall is scarce.

Cloud Types and Formation in Saint-Louis

The skies above Saint-Louis, Senegal, are adorned with a diverse array of cloud formations. During the dry season (November to May), cirrus and cumulus clouds are prevalent. Cirrus clouds, characterized by their wispy and high-altitude appearance, form from ice crystals and indicate fair weather. Cumulus clouds, on the other hand, are puffy and low-level, often resembling cotton balls. These clouds are commonly associated with isolated showers or thunderstorms.

Influence of the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) on Cloud Formation

The weather patterns in Saint-Louis are significantly influenced by the movement of the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). During the wet season (June to October), the ITCZ shifts northward, bringing with it a proliferation of convective clouds. These clouds, such as cumulonimbus and nimbostratus, are associated with heavy rainfall and thunderstorms. Cumulonimbus clouds, in particular, have a towering anvil-shaped appearance and can reach great heights, often producing lightning and hail. Nimbostratus clouds, on the other hand, are thick and gray, causing prolonged periods of overcast skies and rainfall.

Seasonal Distribution and Annual Totals

Saint-Louis, Senegal, experiences a semi-arid climate characterized by distinct wet and dry seasons. The wet season typically spans from July to October, bringing heavy rainfall due to the southwest monsoon winds. During this period, the average monthly precipitation exceeds 100 mm, with August and September being the wettest months. Conversely, the dry season lasts from November to May, with minimal rainfall averaging below 10 mm per month. The annual precipitation in Saint-Louis is relatively low, around 300-400 mm, compared to other coastal regions in West Africa.

Long-Term Trends and Variability

Over the past few decades, there have been noticeable changes in precipitation patterns in Saint-Louis. The region has experienced a gradual decline in annual precipitation, particularly during the wet season. This shift is attributed to a combination of factors, including climate change and changes in atmospheric circulation patterns. Additionally, the inter-annual variability of precipitation is significant, with dry years interspersed with periods of above-average rainfall. These variations can have severe impacts on local water resources and agricultural practices.

Rainfall Patterns in Saint-Louis, Senegal

Saint-Louis, a coastal city located in northern Senegal, experiences a distinct seasonal rainfall pattern. The primary rainy season, known as the “hivernage,” typically stretches from July to October. During this period, the city receives abundant rainfall, with monthly averages ranging from 150 to 250 millimeters. The rainfall is primarily driven by the monsoon winds that carry moisture from the Atlantic Ocean. The onset of the rainy season is marked by intense thunderstorms and heavy downpours, while the end of the season is often characterized by a gradual decrease in rainfall intensity.

Annual Rainfall Variability

The annual rainfall in Saint-Louis exhibits considerable variability from year to year. This variability is largely attributed to fluctuations in the strength and duration of the monsoon winds. During years with strong monsoon activity, the city may receive significantly higher rainfall, exceeding 700 millimeters. Conversely, during years with weak monsoon winds, rainfall can be substantially lower, dipping below 300 millimeters. The inter-annual variability in rainfall has important implications for the region’s agriculture, water resources, and overall climate patterns.

Historical Occurrences

Snowfall is an exceedingly rare phenomenon in Saint-Louis, Senegal, a city located in the northwestern region of the country. Throughout recorded history, there have been only two documented instances of snowfall in Saint-Louis. The first occurred in 1968 when a thin layer of snow blanketed the city for a brief period. The second, and most recent, snowfall took place in 1979, leaving a heavier accumulation that persisted for several hours.

Climate Conditions

The occurrence of snowfall in Saint-Louis is attributed to the exceptional weather patterns that occasionally occur in the region. The city sits on the northern edge of the Sahel, a vast semi-arid belt that experiences extreme heat and dryness for most of the year. However, during the winter months, cold air masses from the north can descend upon the Sahel, bringing with them the potential for precipitation in the form of snow. These conditions are extremely rare, as the cold air masses typically weaken and dissipate before reaching the coast.

Sun’s Position and Duration

Saint-Louis is a city in Senegal, located on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. The sun’s position and duration in Saint-Louis vary throughout the year due to the Earth’s tilt and the city’s latitude. During the summer months (June to August), the sun is higher in the sky and provides longer daylight hours, with sunrise occurring around 6:00 AM and sunset around 7:30 PM. In the winter months (December to February), the sun is lower in the sky and daylight hours are shorter, with sunrise occurring around 7:30 AM and sunset around 6:00 PM.

Sun’s Intensity

Saint-Louis experiences intense sunlight throughout the year due to its tropical climate. The city is located near the equator, where the sun’s rays are more direct and concentrated. The average daily solar radiation in Saint-Louis is around 6.5 kWh/m2, which is much higher than the global average of 4.7 kWh/m2. The high solar radiation levels make Saint-Louis a prime location for solar energy development. However, the intense sunlight can also be a challenge for residents and visitors, requiring protective measures such as sunscreen, sunglasses, and umbrellas.

Rising Moon over the Atlantic

As the sun sets over the vibrant city of Saint-Louis, Senegal, the crescent moon emerges from the horizon, casting a silvery glow upon the Atlantic Ocean. The sky transforms into a canvas of deep indigo, adorned with a myriad of twinkling stars. The gentle lapping of waves against the sandy shores creates a soothing symphony, blending harmoniously with the distant call of seagulls. The rising moon, a celestial beacon, guides the path of fishermen venturing out to sea, their boats silhouetted against the shimmering waters.

Moonlit Magic along the Colonial Quarter

As night envelops Saint-Louis, the moon’s ethereal light illuminates the historic colonial quarter, its crumbling facades whispering tales of a bygone era. The cobblestone streets, once bustling with traders and soldiers, are now quiet and serene. The old governor’s palace, a grand testament to French colonial architecture, stands tall, its arches and balconies casting intricate shadows. The moonbeams dance playfully upon the waters of the Senegal River, creating a rippling tapestry of light. The scent of jasmine and frangipani permeates the air, adding a touch of romanticism to the moonlit cityscape.

Seasonal Humidity Patterns

Saint-Louis, Senegal experiences distinct seasonal humidity patterns throughout the year. During the dry season, which typically runs from November to April, humidity levels are generally low, with average relative humidity ranging from 30% to 40%. The lack of rainfall during this period contributes to the drier air conditions. However, during the rainy season, which spans from May to October, humidity levels increase significantly. The influx of moisture from frequent rainfall leads to higher relative humidity, often reaching 80% or more.

Effects on Human Comfort and Health

High humidity levels can have significant effects on human comfort and health. When humidity levels exceed 60%, the air becomes saturated with moisture, which can make it difficult for the body to evaporate sweat and cool down. This can lead to discomfort, fatigue, and heat-related illnesses. Additionally, high humidity can exacerbate respiratory conditions, such as asthma and allergies, as it can trap allergens and irritants in the air. Conversely, low humidity levels can cause skin dryness, irritation, and respiratory issues, especially in individuals with sensitive skin or conditions like eczema.

Wind Patterns

Saint-Louis, Senegal, experiences a tropical climate characterized by distinct wet and dry seasons. The prevailing wind direction during the dry season (October to May) is northeasterly, known as the harmattan. This dry, dust-laden wind originates from the Sahara desert and sweeps across the region, bringing clear skies and cool temperatures. During the wet season (June to September), the wind direction shifts to southwesterly, creating a humid, rainy environment. The monsoon winds carry moisture from the Atlantic Ocean, resulting in heavy rainfall and occasional storms.

Influence on Culture and Economy

The wind patterns in Saint-Louis have had a profound impact on the city’s culture and economy. The harmattan wind has been a source of inspiration for local artists and musicians, who incorporate its characteristic sound into their works. Moreover, the seasonal changes in wind direction have shaped the city’s architecture and urban planning. Traditional buildings are often designed with high ceilings and open windows to maximize airflow and mitigate the heat during the dry season. The wind also plays a vital role in the region’s fishing industry, as fishermen rely on the winds to propel their boats and catch fish along the Atlantic coast.

Ideal Time:

The optimal time to visit Saint-Louis, Senegal, is during the dry season, which spans from November to April. This period offers pleasant weather with average temperatures ranging from 68°F to 86°F (20°C to 30°C). The humidity levels are lower, providing a more comfortable climate for exploring the city’s colonial architecture and vibrant market. Additionally, the dry season coincides with the annual Jazz Festival, a major cultural event that attracts renowned musicians from around the world.

Alternative Season:

If the dry season doesn’t fit your travel schedule, consider visiting during the shoulder season, which falls in May and October. While the weather is slightly warmer and more humid, it remains manageable for outdoor activities. The shoulder season offers the advantage of lower tourist crowds, allowing for a more relaxed and intimate experience of Saint-Louis’s charming atmosphere.

Existing Conditions

Saint-Louis, Senegal, experiences abundant sunshine, with an average of 3,000 hours of sunlight per year. This favorable solar resource has prompted the city to explore the potential of solar energy to meet its growing electricity needs. As of 2022, Saint-Louis has installed several solar photovoltaic (PV) power plants, with a combined capacity of over 10 megawatts (MW). These plants contribute significantly to the city’s energy mix, reducing its reliance on fossil fuels.

Future Prospects

The government of Senegal has set ambitious targets for renewable energy development, including 100% electrification by 2025. Saint-Louis is well-positioned to play a key role in achieving these goals, given its abundant solar resources. The city has identified several potential sites for new solar PV installations, with a total capacity of up to 50 MW. These projects are expected to further increase Saint-Louis’s solar energy production and contribute to the city’s sustainable development.

Elevation and Landscape

Saint-Louis, Senegal, is characterized by its low elevation and flat terrain. The city is located in the western part of the country, along the Atlantic Ocean coast. The highest point in Saint-Louis is only a few meters above sea level, and the city is generally very flat. This low elevation makes Saint-Louis prone to flooding during heavy rains and storm surges.

Influence of the Senegal River

The Senegal River plays a significant role in shaping the topography of Saint-Louis. The river forms the northern boundary of the city and has created a wide delta over time. The delta is made up of numerous islands, channels, and floodplains. The Senegal River provides a vital source of water for Saint-Louis and the surrounding region. However, it can also be a source of flooding and erosion. The river’s mouth is located near the city, and sediment buildup can cause changes in the river’s course, leading to flooding and erosion along the coast.

Closest Airport to Saint-Louis, Senegal

The nearest airport to Saint-Louis, Senegal, is Saint-Louis Airport (XLS), situated approximately 7 kilometers (4 miles) from the city center. The airport is a regional facility serving domestic flights within Senegal and a few neighboring countries. Major international airlines do not operate flights to Saint-Louis Airport, and connecting through Dakar’s Blaise Diagne International Airport (DSS) is necessary for international arrivals. From DSS, travelers can board a domestic flight to XLS.

Saint-Louis Airport Facilities

Saint-Louis Airport consists of a single terminal building with basic facilities for passengers. It offers check-in counters, a small departure lounge, and a baggage claim area. Limited amenities such as a cafe and a few retail shops are available within the terminal. The airport provides parking facilities for private vehicles and taxis are readily available for transportation to and from the city center.

History and Architecture

Saint-Louis, fondly known as “the city of jazz,” holds a rich historical significance in Senegal. Founded in 1659 as Ndar by French colonists, it served as the capital of French West Africa from 1895 to 1957. The city’s unique architectural heritage reflects its colonial past, with a blend of European and African influences. Notable landmarks include the Governor’s Palace, the Cathedral of Saint Louis, and the Faidherbe Bridge, which spans the Senegal River and connects the city to the mainland.

Culture and Economy

Saint-Louis is a vibrant city renowned for its cultural scene. It hosts the prestigious Saint-Louis Jazz Festival, a major international event that attracts artists and enthusiasts from around the globe. The city is also home to several museums and art galleries, showcasing local and international collections. Saint-Louis’ economy revolves primarily around tourism, fishing, and agriculture. The city’s proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and the Senegal River provides opportunities for fishing, while rice cultivation is a significant agricultural activity in the surrounding region.