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Cape Cod Weather

Cape Cod Weather will not provide any great surprises for anyone familiar with the climate of the Northeastern United States, though Europeans might be surprised by the sheer range of temperatures from winter to summer (think Northern Germany in the winter and Mediterranean in the summer).

The weather on Cape Cod is similar to that of Boston, New York or Providence, with the caveat that the ocean tends to moderate the temperature by about 10 degrees Fahrenheit (all temperatures in this part of the world are measured in Fahrenheit). So when it’s 90 degrees and humid in Boston, it’s likely to be a pleasant 80 degrees on the Cape. And in the winter, when Boston is 10 below freezing with a foot of snow, the Cape will probably be right around freezing with a few inches of snow.

For eleven months of the year, this 10 degree difference is a big advantage. The exception month is April, when Boston and the rest of Massachusetts are just starting to bask in the early days of spring, and Cape Cod Weather is still stuck in the last throes of winter.

April is our least favorite time to be on the Cape, so much so that we often try to take our own vacation at that time of year to some other place.

Insider Tip

Speaking of the fall, millions of tourists come to New England at that time of year for the spectacular fall foliage. While September and October are undoubtedly two of our favorite months of year for Cape Cod Weather, fall here is not the spectacle of color that it is in other parts of New England.

The dominant form of vegetation on Cape Cod is the scrub pine, which is exactly the same color in the fall as it is every other time of year. So if you're looking for the beautiful New England fall colors, you'll probably have to travel off-Cape to see the best of them.

Crummy spring weather has hampered years of efforts by business leaders and the Chamber of Commerce to extend the so-called shoulder season beyond the traditional summer peak (they’ve had some success in the fall, but less so in the early spring).

While the temperature is mostly moderate, you do need to beware of the exceptions. We can remember the time a few years ago when Michael's sister and her three young children arrived in the middle of a heat wave and had not thought to rent a condo with air conditioning. Man, they roasted in there for a couple of pretty unpleasant nights before the weather “broke” and they were able to enjoy more moderate temperatures.

We can also remember digging out from a foot of snow in April, playing soccer outside on grass on Superbowl Sunday, and freezing our butts off at Dennis-Yarmouth High School watching a Crusaders game in temperatures that literally had us shivering uncontrollably.

And that was on Memorial Day Weekend in late May!

Besides the typical snow storms and heat waves, Cape Cod does experience the occasional hurricane. Old timers here reckon that you should expect a hurricane force storm on Cape Cod about once every ten years or so.

While that may not seem like too much of a problem, it is worth noting that we haven't had a hurricane in these parts since Edouard in 1996. And we haven't had a direct hit since Bob in 1991 (Edouard veered off to the east at the last moment), so we're well over due for one. (YIKES!)

Whatever the weather on Cape Cod, though, you should be ready for it to change, and sometimes at a moment’s notice. A pleasant late afternoon stroll in Chatham, for instance, could very well turn into the kind of evening that, while still undoubtedly pleasant, would require you to wear a sweater or jacket by nightfall.

So come prepared, check the forecasts regularly and you'll be fine. What is it the Swedes say? "There's no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing."

Neither of us have ever been to Sweden but we're pretty sure it'll be easier to find appropriate clothing here than it is there.

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