Sri Lanka’s weather is tropical and climatically the island is divided into two zones: The dry zone that spreads over the Northern plains, North central plains, Eastern plains and the Northern and Eastern coastal belts. The Wet Zone that encompasses the South Western region and the single mountain mass of the island that is aptly called the Central Highlands.
Sri Lanka’s weather patterns are generally well-defined. However the dramatic global climatic changes do make an impact on Sri Lanka too. So there are times that it can rain unexpectedly or you might experience a heat wave.
The Ideal Time to Visit Sri Lanka
November to March
The principal tourist season in Sri Lanka is during November to March when it is the dry season for the South Western and Southern coastal areas and the Central Highlands. November through to March are also the months when most foreign tourists visit the island, the majority of them escaping the European winter. During Christmas up to the New Year which is one of the main holiday seasons, accommodation rates in most tourist hotels hit the highest levels all over the island in view of the sharp upsurge of inward traffic of tourists into the island. Advance bookings of hotel rooms during this period are highly recommended.
April to September
The secondary tourist season that spans from April to September are the ideal months to tour the ancient cities of the North Central Plains and the Eastern Coast.
July to August
July / August is the time of the Kandy Esala Perahera, the 10-day festival held in homage to the sacred Tooth Relic of the Buddha, and also the time of the Kataragama Festival in the South. In both towns, accommodation just before, during and immediately after the festivals is very difficult to come by. Rates could shoot up to double or still higher. The tourists who wish to arrive in Sri Lanka during this period are advised to make bookings of hotel rooms well in advance.
Weather Highlights of Sri Lanka
* Colombo, Sri Lanka latitude & longitude; 6°54’N 79°52’E.
* Altitude; 7 m (23 ft).
* The average temperature in Sri Lanka is 27.0 °C (81 °F).
* The range of average monthly temperatures is 2 °C.
* The warmest average max/ high temperature is 31 °C (88 °F) in February, March, April & May.
* The coolest average min/ low temperature is 22 °C (72 °F) in January & February.
* Sri Lanka receives on average 2397 mm (94.4 in) of precipitation annually or 200 mm (7.9 in) each month.
* On balance there are 188 days annually on which greater than 0.1 mm (0.004 in) of precipitation (rain, sleet, snow or hail) occurs or 16 days on an average month. The month with the driest weather is January when on balance 88 mm (3.5 in) of rain, sleet, hail or snow falls across 8 days.
* The month with the wettest weather is October when on balance 354 mm (13.9 in) of rain, sleet, hail or snow falls across 21 days.
* Mean relative humidity for an average year is recorded as 79.8% and on a monthly basis it ranges from 75% in January to 83% in October.
* On balance there are 0 days annually registering frost in Sri Lanka and in January there are on average 0 days with frost.