Palmdale is a city in the center of northern Los Angeles County in the U.S. state of California. The San Gabriel Mountains separate Palmdale from the City of Los Angeles.

On August 24, 1962, Palmdale became the first community in the Antelope Valley to incorporate. 47 years later, in November 2009, voters approved making it a charter city. Its population was 152,750 at the 2010 census, up from 116,670 at the 2000 census. Palmdale is the 33rd most populous city in California. In 2013, the Palmdale / Lancaster urban area had an estimated population of 513,547.

Palmdale is located in Los Angeles County, and the urbanized centers of Palmdale and Los Angeles are separated by the San Gabriel mountain range, which is about 40 miles (64 km) wide. This range forms the southern edge of the Antelope Valley portion of the Mojave Desert. Palmdale is the second largest city in the Antelope Valley, and the fifth largest city overall in the Mojave Desert by population, after Las Vegas, Henderson, North Las Vegas and Lancaster. Palmdale is part of a twin city complex with its immediate northern neighbor Lancaster and together they are the principal cities within the Antelope Valley region and California’s High Desert.


Palmdale is located in the High Desert, where the summers are very hot and dry, and winters are cool and windy with snow fall possible. Palmdale has over 300 days of sunshine per year. The same weather pattern that brings the marine layer stratus and afternoon sea breeze to the Los Angeles Basin brings gusty winds to Palmdale, especially near the foothills on the south side. Except during Santa Ana (northeast) wind events (usually fall and winter), gusty southwest winds blow over Palmdale almost every afternoon and evening all year round. The wind is so reliable that wind turbines are used to generate electricity.


Relatively chilly to cold, wet and windy. Winter days are somewhat mild, but winter nights can be cold. Temperatures have gone into the single-digits at times. The wind chill factor can sometimes be below zero. This is Palmdale’s rainy season and is prone to flash flooding during this time. On occasion, it will snow, sometimes with several inches of accumulation. Average day time highs are in the upper 50s(F) to low 60s(F), while winter nights are usually in the 30s(F) and as low as the 20s(F).


Moderate temperatures. Still occasionally wet. Very windy. Transitional period from winter to summer temperatures is very short. Average daytime highs are in the upper 70s(F) to low 80s(F) while being in the 40s(F) to low 50s(F) overnight.


Very hot, dry heat with little or no precipitation. Temperatures frequently soar into triple-digits. However, the high desert where Palmdale is located, allows for the temperatures to cool down somewhat at night, unlike the low desert cities such as Palm Springs. Average day time highs are in the upper 90s(F) while dropping into the mid to upper 70s(F) after midnight. Local electrical bills spike during this period with air-conditioning units running day and night, until early October. Despite the hot temperature, it is very common to experience “summer storms” in which temperatures are consistent but there is heavy rain and thunderstorms.


Moderate temperatures with little or no precipitation. Transitional period from summer to winter temperatures is very short. As a result, the deciduous trees in Palmdale will lose their leaves very rapidly, seemingly overnight, with a short color change. Average day time highs are in the upper 70s(F) and low 80s(F) while dropping into the mid 40s(F) to mid 50s(F) overnight.

Annual Average High Temperatures:   98 °F (summer) 59 °F (winter)
Annual Average Low Temperatures      66 °F (summer) 33 °F (winter)
Highest Recorded Temperature:           113 °F (1972, 2007)
Lowest Recorded Temperature:             6 °F (1963)
Warmest Month:                                      July
Coolest Month:                                         December
Highest Precipitation:                             February
Annual Precipitation:                              7.40 inches


The most important industry for Palmdale is the aerospace industry. However, in recent times, other manufacturing companies have relocated to Palmdale seeking more affordable land, proximity to Palmdale Airport, and special tax breaks.
The special tax breaks granted for companies that relocate to Palmdale is due to the city having the Antelope Valley Enterprise Zone and the Palmdale Federal Foreign Trade Zone. These are special zoning areas within the city that are given various state and federal tax breaks and municipal grant incentives to relocate their business there. These zones were put in effect to help Palmdale, as well as nearby Lancaster, draw more jobs to the area so that they would be less dependent on the Los Angeles Basin and the San Fernando Valley area for employment. This will help relieve traffic congestion and pollution and stabilize the Antelope Valley economy on several industries. The local governments of the Antelope Valley seek to diversify their economies and not just depend on the aerospace industry as it is known for having “feast or famine” seasons.

Palmdale refers to itself with the nickname the “aerospace capital of the United States”, and has been the site of research, development, final assembly, flight testing and/or servicing/modifications of the Space Shuttle, B-1 Lancer, X-15, B-2 Spirit, F-117 Nighthawk, F-35 Lightning II, SR-71 Blackbird, Lockheed L-1011 Tristar, and many other aircraft that have been used in the United States Air Force, NASA and air forces and airlines around the world. USAF Plant 42, where the aforementioned aerospace projects occurred / occur is home to major operations of the following aerospace companies: Boeing, Lockheed Martin and its famed Skunk Works, and Northrop Grumman.[27] The Los Angeles World Airports owns the former Boeing hangar (formerly North American Rockwell) at Plant 42 near LA/Palmdale Regional Airport which is one of the largest buildings in the world. The hangar was used for the set of the 2004 film The Terminal, which featured an enormous replica of a JFK International Airport terminal. NASA’s SOFIA program relocated its operation to this hangar at Site 9 from Edwards Air Force Base.

Largest employers

Lockheed Martin
Northrop Grumman
Antelope Valley Mall
Palmdale School District
Antelope Valley Union High School District
Palmdale Regional Medical Center
Westside Union School District
Los Angeles County

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