El Cajon, California

El Cajon, California

El Cajon is a city situated in San Diego County in the state of California.  At the 2010 census the population of El Cajon was 99,478, with more than 60,000 deciding upon relocation there in the following 12 months, by which time the population had swelled to 100,116.

The city is nestled in a valley surrounded by mountains and has been given the nickname  ‘The Big Box’. This originates from the Spanish phrase ‘el cajon’, which literally means either ‘the drawer’ or ‘the big box’.

The United States Census Bureau says that El Cajon has a full area of 14.4 square miles, all of which is land.  On the west it is bordered by both San Diego and La Mesa, on the south by Spring Valley, on the north by Santee and on the east by unincorporated San Diego County.  El Cajon includes the neighborhoods of Bostonia, Rancho San Diego and Fletcher Hills.

The climate of El Cajon straddles that of both Mediterranean and Semi-Arid.  Because of this it is sometimes described as ‘Arid Mediterranean’ or “Semi-Arid Steppe”.  As is also the case with the great majority of inland areas within Southern California, the climate can vary quite dramatically in just a short distance.  In comparison to coastal San Diego, El Cajon has much greater extremes in its climate.  The climate becomes more arid the further east from the coast, reaching the mountains where orographic uplift causes an increase in precipitation.  The climate of El Cajon is warm during summertime, with a mean temperature of 21.2C or more, and cool during wintertime, with a mean temperature of 13C or higher.  August is by far the warmest month of the year, with a maximum average temperature of 31.2C, while December is the coldest month of the year with an average minimum temperature of around 4.6C.  The difference in temperature between daytime and nighttime has a tendency to be fairly moderate, with an average difference of 13C during the summertime and 14C during the wintertime.

El Cajon’s average yearly precipitation is 11.9 inches, with rainfall being distributed fairly evenly throughout the months of winter and being very rare during the summer months.  March is the wettest month of the year by far, with the average rainfall being 2.66 inches.  The highest temperature ever recorded in El Cajon was 45C, which occurred on June 14th 1917, September 1st 1955, July 22nd 2006 and September 27th 2010.  The lowest temperature ever recorded was -7C, which occurred on January 8th 1913.

El Cajon became incorporated as a city exactly a century ago back in 1912.  Anyone who is planning to move to El Cajon with children will have plenty of schools to choose from, with more than 20 elementary schools, six middle schools, seven high schools and three colleges.

Jon Huser