Despite moderately cold winters and the average temperature at night below freezing for three months a year, Philadelphia has a humid subtropical climate. But does this climate translate into more hours of sunshine? And if so, how many sunny days in Philadelphia are recorded in an average year? Let’s explore Philadelphia’s average weather to learn how much sun it gets and how many days of cloud cover it experiences a year. I’ll also give the number of rainy days and snowy days.
When researching all data for this article (including sunshine hours, average temperature, average rainfall, average snowfall, average humidity, etc.) I used climate data from the NOAA.
Here’s the Number of Sunny Days in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
According to the NOAA, Philadelphia International Airport receives 2,498 hours of sunshine a year. The airport is located just a few miles from downtown Philadelphia so it’s an accurate source of data for average weather conditions in the city.
Now, how do these sunshine hours translate into the number of sunny days in Philadelphia? Here’s a table with my calculations:
|Month||Sunshine hours||Percent possible sunshine||Average sunny days|
According to this data, Philadelphia has about 204 sunny days (this includes partly cloudy and clear days). This also means that the city records 161 cloudy days during an average year.
The sunniest months are summer months: July (the hottest month) and August, both of which get 19 days of sun per month. The average temperature in these months climbs to 85-88 °F, which combined with high average humidity results in muggy summers. While other seasons are also relatively humid, the most humid months start in July and last until October.
Speaking of October, this month may be a better time to visit Philadelphia. It still gets 18 days of sun but is no longer so hot. It’s still a warm month, though. It records an average high temperature of pleasant 67 °F, while the average temperature at night is about 49 °F.
The least sunny month is February with 14-15 sunny days. It’s the second coldest month after January which is slightly sunnier with 16 days of sun. Both months record an average temperature of about 41-44 °F during the day and the average low temperature falling below freezing to 26-28 °F.
Sunshine Hours in Philadelphia Compared to Other Cities
With 2,498 hours of sunshine, Philadelphia has almost the same number of sunshine hours compared to other cities in this part of the United States.
New York City gets 2,535 hours of sunshine, Baltimore gets 2,582, Boston 2,634, Washington, D.C. gets 2,528, and Chicago gets 2,508.
Philadelphia is much sunnier than Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which gets only 2,021 sunshine hours a year and 161 sunny days. It also has more sun than Allentown, PA, which gets 187 sunny days compared to 204 in Philadelphia. Philadelphia is also sunnier than Scranton (2,303 sunshine hours) but less sunny than Harrisburg (2,614 sunshine hours).
Philadelphia’s percentage of sunny daylight hours is much lower compared to cities in sunny states like California, Arizona, or Nevada. Compared to major sunny cities, it has 500-1000 fewer hours of sunshine. For example, Los Angeles has 3,254 hours of sunshine, San Diego has 3,054, and San Francisco records 3,062.
And if we compare Philadelphia to the sunniest cities, the difference is staggering. Phoenix has 3,872 sunshine hours and Las Vegas has 3,825. That’s over 1,300 hours of sunshine more in these two cities.
How Many Days of Rain and Snow Does Philadelphia Get?
Philadelphia’s hours of sunshine are in line with other cities in the region. It’s not particularly cloudy but it’s also not super sunny. How about rainy days and snow in the city? Here’s the data:
|Month||Rainy days||Snowy days|
Philadelphia gets 121 days of rain a year. The average rainfall per year reaches over 44 inches. Rain falls consistently year round and there’s no month that’s much wetter or much drier. Each month gets between 9-11 rainy days.
Looking at the number of rainy days, the wettest month is December or January. But looking at precipitation amounts, the highest average rainfall is recorded in September. September is also the most humid month.
Philadelphia records just 12 days of snow per year. The average snowfall per year reaches 23 inches, with most snow falling in January and February. The annual snowfall varies a lot, with some years getting almost no snow and some years experiencing major snowstorms.
If you’re curious about cities in Pennsylvania that have the highest average temperatures, check out my article on the warmest cities in Pennsylvania. In this article, I rank each major city in the state by its average temperature.
Frequently Asked Questions
Philadelphia is much sunnier than Pittsburgh. It has 204 sunny days compared to just 161 in Pittsburgh.
Philadelphia records 121 days of rain a year, meaning it rains about one third of the year. It rains consistently each month, so whenever you visit Philadelphia, it’s highly likely you’ll experience some rainy days. You can say that precipitation is fairly common in the city.
On average, Philadelphia records just 12 days of snow a year. This number varies a lot, though, with some years with almost non-existent snow and some years suffering from snowstorms.
Philadelphia has about 204 sunny days per year. This means that it’s sunny about 56% of the time. So it’s sunny more often than it’s not but it’s hard to say it’s usually sunny in Philly.
Philadelphia has a humid subtropical climate. The average humidity in the city is above 60% the entire year. During the most humid months, average humidity reaches over 70%. If you go in the hottest month, the average high temperature potentially climbing to 90 °F may result in an unpleasant experience.
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