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El Cajon is a city in San Diego County, California. The population was 99,478 at the 2010 census and grew to 100,116 in 2011. Nestled in a valley surrounded by mountains, the city has acquired the nickname of “The Big Box”. Its name originated similarly, from the Spanish phrase “el cajón”, which means “the big box” or “the drawer”.
El Cajon is located at 32°47′54″N 116°57′36″W (32.798300, -116.960055). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 14.4 square miles (37 km2), all land. It is bordered by San Diego and La Mesa on the west, Spring Valley on the south, Santee on the north, and unincorporated San Diego County on the east. It includes the neighborhoods of Fletcher Hills, Bostonia, and Rancho San Diego.
Under the Köppen climate classification system, El Cajon straddles areas of Mediterranean climate (CSa) and semi-arid climate (BSh). As a result, it is often described as “arid Mediterranean” and “semi-arid Steppe”. Like most inland areas in Southern California, the climate varies dramatically within a short distance, known as microclimate. El Cajon’s climate has greater extremes compared to coastal San Diego. The farther east from the coast, the more arid the climate gets, until one reaches the mountains, where precipitation increases due to orographic uplift.
El Cajon’s climate is warm during summer with mean temperatures averaging 70.1 °F (21.2 °C) or higher and cool during winter with mean temperatures averaging 55.4 °F (13.0 °C) or higher.
The warmest month of the year is August with an average maximum temperature of 88.1 °F (31.2 °C), while the coldest month of the year is December with an average minimum temperature of 40.3 °F (4.6 °C).