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Average monthly weather in Sri Lanka with rainfall data

Monthly weather in Sri Lanka

No one is capable of predicting the weather with 100% accuracy, but let’s not leave everything to luck.

With the help of our Sri Lanka specialists, I analyzed the weather reports of Sri Lanka from 2009 to 2020 to get a deep understanding of monthly weather in Sri Lanka. From today’s Travellers Isle article, I am going to share our findings with you.

Frankly, this could be the single most important article on this entire blog.

What is the weather like in Sri Lanka?

Due to its location within the tropics, Sri Lanka usually enjoys perfect 12-hour days and 12-hour nights. Its average annual temperature varies from 27.0 °C (81 °F) in the coastal lowlands to 16 °C (60.8 °F) in the central highlands. Generally, the hottest months of Sri Lanka are April and August. The coldest month in Sri Lanka is January.

The regional temperature differences observed in Sri Lanka are mainly due to the changes in the altitude. The seasonal movement of the sun and the rainfall are the other factors influencing the average monthly temperatures in Sri Lanka.

The rainfall patterns in Sri Lanka are largely influenced by the Monsoon winds in the Indian ocean. The southwest monsoon season brings rain to the southwest parts of Sri Lanka from May to September. The northeast monsoon season brings rain to the north and the eastern parts of Sri Lanka from December to February.

The average annual rainfall in Sri Lanka varies from under 900 mm in the driest parts of Sri Lanka (southeastern and northwestern) to over 5000 mm in the wettest parts (western slopes of the central highlands) of Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka weather by month

Since the weather in Sri Lanka is not consistent throughout the year, it is crucial that you make your plans according to the weather patterns of the month that you visit Sri Lanka. Here is what to expect in Sri Lanka in each month of the year.

Note – The monthly rainfall data in this article was acquired from the Meteorology Department of Sri Lanka.

 

Weather in Sri Lanka in January

Weather in Sri Lanka in January

January is one of the best months to visit Sri Lanka when the entire country is enjoying nice, warm weather, with the exception of northern and eastern parts of Sri Lanka. These regions experience some rain in January as they are under the influence of the northeast monsoon season.

Below are average monthly rainfall data for various locations in Sri Lanka in January. As you see most regions have very low levels of rainfall in January.

Average monthly rainfall (mm)
Average rainfall days
Anuradhapura 115.1 15
Badulla 223.9 21
Kandy 53.6 10
Bentota 72.7 15
Colombo 102.9 14
Dambulla 171.3 18
Trincomalee 274.4 18
Galle 102.5 18
Jaffna 105.4 14
Negombo 63.7 10

 

Best regions to visit in January

Anuradhapura, Sigiriya, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Ella, Colombo, Dambulla, Galle, Yala, Udawalawe, Negombo

Best beaches in January

Bentota, Hikkaduwa, Unawatuna, Mirissa, Dikwella, Induruwa, Kalpitiya, Tangalle

Seasonal activities that you can enjoy in January

Kitesurfing in Kalpitiya, Whale watching in Mirissa, Adam’s Peak pilgrimage

Weather in Sri Lanka in February

Weather in Sri Lanka in February

February is another amazing month to visit Sri Lanka. The entire country enjoys great weather. There could be some rain in eastern parts of Sri Lanka due to the northeast monsoon winds. However, these rains would not be as intense as the rains in January.

Average monthly rainfall (mm)
Average rainfall days
Anuradhapura 77.3 13
Badulla 142.7 14
Kandy 112.9 15
Bentota 74.7 9
Colombo 77.6 14
Dambulla 96.1 13
Trincomalee 191.2 16
Galle 59.3 16
Jaffna 25.7 7
Negombo 52.8 6

 

Best regions to visit in February

Anuradhapura, Sigiriya, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Ella, Colombo, Dambulla, Galle, Yala, Udawalawe, Negombo, Jaffna

Best beaches in February

Bentota, Hikkaduwa, Unawatuna, Mirissa, Dikwella, Induruwa, Kalpitiya, Tangalle

Seasonal activities that you can enjoy in February

Kitesurfing in Kalpitiya, Whale watching in Mirissa, Adam’s Peak pilgrimage

Weather in Sri Lanka in March

Weather in Sri Lanka in March

March is yet another amazing month to visit Sri Lanka. You can travel pretty much anywhere in Sri Lanka in this month without experiencing heavy rains. However, I would still discourage you from visiting the east coast in March. It could be rainy there and the sea around the east coast would be too strong for sea swimming.

Average monthly rainfall (mm)
Average rainfall days
Anuradhapura 111.6 15
Badulla 183.1 16
Kandy 145.6 19
Bentota 143.4 20
Colombo 152.6 22
Dambulla 102.1 10
Trincomalee 171.1 16
Galle 133.1 12
Jaffna 36.6 6
Negombo 102.7 13

 

Best regions to visit in March

Anuradhapura, Sigiriya, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Ella, Colombo, Dambulla, Galle, Yala, Udawalawe, Negombo, Jaffna

Best beaches in March

Bentota, Hikkaduwa, Unawatuna, Mirissa, Dikwella, Induruwa, Kalpitiya, Tangalle

Seasonal activities that you can enjoy in March

Kitesurfing in Kalpitiya, Whale watching in Mirissa, Adam’s Peak pilgrimage

Weather in Sri Lanka in April

Weather in Sri Lanka in April

You might experience a rain or two during your Sri Lanka tour in April, but overall weather would be still very pleasant. If possible, try to travel in the first half of April, as the first half of April is less rainy than the second half of April.

Sri Lankans celebrate Sinhalese and Tamil New Year on the 13th and 14th of April. The whole country comes to a halt on these two days to celebrate the festival. If you are touring Sri Lanka during the New Year days, you might want to book a homestay to celebrate the New Year with the locals.

Average monthly rainfall (mm)
Average rainfall days
Anuradhapura 159.2 13
Badulla 209.7 14
Kandy 202.5 16
Bentota 259.7 17
Colombo 385.5 28
Dambulla 113.2 14
Trincomalee 74.4 9
Galle 273.5 13
Jaffna 114.8 10
Negombo 236.8 13

 

Best regions to visit in April

Anuradhapura, Sigiriya, Kandy, Ella, Dambulla, Yala, Udawalawe, Negombo, Jaffna

Best beaches in April

Hikkaduwa, Unawatuna, Mirissa, Dikwella, Induruwa, Kalpitiya, Tangalle

Seasonal activities that you can enjoy in April

Sinhalese and Tamil New Year (celebrated on 13th and 14th April), Whale watching in Mirissa, Adam’s Peak pilgrimage

Weather in Sri Lanka in May

Weather in Sri Lanka in May

If you are travelling to Sri Lanka in May, focus your tour on the cultural triangle, east coast and the northern Sri Lanka. May is a bit of a rainy month for Sri Lanka due to the southwest monsoon winds. If your tour dates are flexible, consider choosing a different month for your trip.

If a couple of rains do not bother you, this is one of the least expensive months to visit Sri Lanka. Most hotels and airlines offer discounts in May.

Average monthly rainfall (mm)
Average rainfall days
Anuradhapura 110.2 12
Badulla 143.5 13
Kandy 234.4 17
Bentota 344.2 28
Colombo 352.1 29
Dambulla 159.6 17
Trincomalee 57.1 6
Galle 364.9 21
Jaffna 32.2 7
Negombo 288.9 21

 

Best regions to visit in May

Dambulla, Sigiriya, Anuradhapura, Jaffna, Trincomalee, Nilaveli, Passikudah

Best beaches in May

Trincomalee, Nilaveli, Passikudah, Arugam Bay

Seasonal activities that you can enjoy in May

Vesak festival, Adam’s Peak pilgrimage (Adam’s Peak pilgrimage season ends on the Vesak full moon poya day.), Dolphin watching in Trincomalee

Weather in Sri Lanka in June

Weather in Sri Lanka in June

The rains in most parts of Sri Lanka start to fade in June. However, the southwest coast continues to receive some rain under the influence of the southwest monsoon winds.

If you are planning to have a holiday in Sri Lanka in June, try to schedule it to the second half of June. Usually, the second half of June has better weather in Sri Lanka compared to the first half of June.

Average monthly rainfall (mm)
Average rainfall days
Anuradhapura 36.6 10
Badulla 41.4 7
Kandy 136.2 25
Bentota 370.6 28
Colombo 189.2 16
Dambulla 51.2 11
Trincomalee 30.1 10
Galle 275.6 29
Jaffna 26.7 7
Negombo 182.5 29

 

Best regions to visit in June

Sigiriya, Anuradhapura, Dambulla, Kandy, Ella, Yala, Udawalawe, Jaffna

Best beaches in June

Trincomalee, Nilaveli, Passikudah, Arugam Bay

Seasonal activities that you can enjoy in June

Poson festival, Dolphin watching in Trincomalee, Surfing in Arugam Bay

Weather in Sri Lanka in July

Weather in Sri Lanka in July

July is a great month to visit Sri Lanka. Almost the entire country enjoys beautiful weather in this month. The only exception to this would be the southwest quarter of Sri Lanka where you can observe some rain due to the southwest monsoon winds. However, usually these rains are not as intense as in May and June.

Average monthly rainfall (mm)
Average rainfall days
Anuradhapura 51.3 9
Badulla 46.2 6
Kandy 130.8 15
Bentota 268.1 29
Colombo 298.7 29
Dambulla 57.6 13
Trincomalee 30.1 5
Galle 187.2 25
Jaffna 43.5 7
Negombo 209.4 20

 

Best regions to visit in July

Sigiriya, Anuradhapura, Dambulla Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Ella, Yala, Udawalawe, Jaffna

Best beaches in July

Trincomalee, Nilaveli, Passikudah, Arugam Bay

Seasonal activities that you can do in July

Esala Perahara (Some years Esala Perahera is held in August.), Dolphin watching in Trincomalee, Surfing in Arugam Bay

Weather in Sri Lanka in August

Weather in Sri Lanka in August

You do not see much rain in August even though it is a southwest monsoon month. You can expect nice warm weather pretty much everywhere in Sri Lanka. Except for the rough seas in the southwest coast and the occasional rain, there is nothing much to complain about in August in Sri Lanka.

Average monthly rainfall (mm)
Average rainfall days
Anuradhapura 56.8 10
Badulla 89.6 7
Kandy 130.8 15
Bentota 278.9 28
Colombo 103 13
Dambulla 71.2 13
Trincomalee 81.2 8
Galle 196.2 21
Jaffna 57.5 8
Negombo 189.6 25

 

Best regions to visit in August

Anuradhapura, Dambulla, Sigiriya, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Ella, Yala, Udawalawe, Jaffna, Colombo, Negombo

Best beaches in August

Trincomalee, Nilaveli, Passikudah, Arugam Bay

Seasonal activities that you can enjoy in August

Esala Perahara (Some years Esala Perahera is held in July.), Dolphin watching in Trincomalee, Surfing in Arugam Bay

Weather in Sri Lanka in September

Weather in Sri Lanka in September

September is a decent time to visit Sri Lanka. The first half of September tends to be nice and sunny all-around Sri Lanka. In the second half of September there can be some rain in the central highlands and in the coastal areas of south and west.

Average monthly rainfall (mm)
Average rainfall days
Anuradhapura 86.9 12
Badulla 117.6 12
Kandy 135.6 14
Bentota 264.6 23
Colombo 212.4 15
Dambulla 49.5 9
Trincomalee 79.6 13
Galle 184.7 21
Jaffna 77.7 9
Negombo 178.3 24

 

Best regions to visit in September

Anuradhapura, Dambulla, Sigiriya, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Ella, Udawalawe, Jaffna, Colombo, Negombo

Note - The weather in Yala in September is nice. However, we do not recommend it for tours in September as its main attraction, the Yala national park is closed in September.

Best beaches in September

Trincomalee, Nilaveli, Passikudah, Arugam Bay

Seasonal activities that you can do in September

Dolphin watching in Trincomalee

Weather in Sri Lanka in October

Weather in Sri Lanka in October

October is not a bad time to visit Sri Lanka, but if you have the option to choose another month for your Sri Lanka holiday (except May and November), I would encourage that. Weather in the first half of October in Sri Lanka tends to be better than the second half of October. The rains are usually limited to the afternoons and evenings during this time of the year in Sri Lanka.

Average monthly rainfall (mm)
Average rainfall days
Anuradhapura 257.3 24
Badulla 238.1 29
Kandy 334.6 27
Bentota 211.2 25
Colombo 291.1 27
Dambulla 273.8 17
Trincomalee 196.4 15
Galle 251.1 19
Jaffna 194.9 21
Negombo 306.8 21

 

Best regions to visit in October

Sigiriya, Anuradhapura, Kandy, Ella, Yala, Udawalawe

Best beaches in October

Trincomalee, Nilaveli, Passikudah, Arugambay

Seasonal activities that you can do in October

Dolphin watching in Trincomalee

Weather in Sri Lanka in November

Weather in Sri Lanka in November

There have been many years that we had perfect blue skies in November in Sri Lanka. However, it is undeniable that there is a good chance of having rainy weather in November in Sri Lanka. It is the rainiest month of the year in Sri Lanka.

Thunderstorms, rain and strong winds can be seen all around Sri Lanka in November. The rains are most common in the evenings and afternoons. The first half of November is the rainiest. Usually, the weather starts to improve in the second half of November.

If your tour dates are flexible, try to postpone the tour to the second half of December to enjoy great weather.

Average monthly rainfall (mm)
Average rainfall days
Anuradhapura 272.7 20
Badulla 260.4 18
Kandy 286.1 17
Bentota 310.8 20
Colombo 360.2 24
Dambulla 269.8 17
Trincomalee 318.6 23
Galle 368.9 28
Jaffna 409.1 28
Negombo 296.7 18
Best regions to visit in November

Sigiriya, Anuradhapura, Kandy, Yala, Udawalawe

Best beaches in November

Hikkaduwa, Unawatuna, Mirissa

Seasonal activities that you can enjoy in November

It is the beginning of the whale watching season in Mirissa. However, the sea could be strong in November, which makes this excursion a bit uncomfortable.

Weather in Sri Lanka in December

Weather in Sri Lanka in December

December is overall a great month to travel Sri Lanka. The rainfall that maxed in November comes to an end towards the middle of December. There is hardly any rain in the second half of December. The only regions to avoid during this time of year are the north and the east coast. Those regions usually receive lots of rain throughout the entire month.

Average monthly rainfall (mm)
Average rainfall days
Anuradhapura 179.3 15
Badulla 261.9 16
Kandy 129.8 15
Bentota 193.2 15
Colombo 143.5 12
Dambulla 234.3 17
Trincomalee 302.5 20
Galle 194.7 15
Jaffna 235.7 15
Negombo 133.9 11

 

Best regions to visit in December

Anuradhapura, Sigiriya, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Colombo, Dambulla, Galle, Yala, Udawalawe, Negombo

Best beaches in December

Bentota, Hikkaduwa, Unawatuna, Mirissa, Dikwella, Induruwa, Kalpitiya, Tangalle

Seasonal activities that you can enjoy in December

Kitesurfing in Kalpitiya, Whale watching in Mirissa, Adam’s Peak pilgrimage

Summary

Sri Lanka has very complex weather patterns for a small country. It faces two monsoons that affect different parts of Sri Lanka alternating. You must have a good understanding which regions have the best weather conditions in the month that you visit Sri Lanka to plan a proper itinerary for your holiday. I hope this article gives you a good understanding of monthly weather in Sri Lanka and helps you to start off your tour planning on the right foot.

Feel free to drop us a message or leave a comment, if you have any questions. Travellers Isle team is more than happy to answer any questions that you might have.

Happy travels !

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