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A True Assessment of Spanish Weather ?

By Mr Grumpy - Thu 23rd Dec 2010

Sometimes it gives me the Thrup'ny bits when I'm speaking to friends and family back in the UK and they express complete and utter surprise when I tell them that the weather over here in Spain is anything other than 'scorchio'.

Most of last week we had temperatures that were sub-zero until mid-morning, and the water pipes (which obviously run over the top of the ground in this third world country) remained frozen solid until around mid-day. This kind of weather is probobaly worsened by the fact that in this part of Spain there is zero air pollution and hardly any cloud cover, which means that any heat that radiates off the ground surface during the night is lost as it isn't insulated by cloud cover etc... like it is in the UK.

These kind of frosts are quite common up around March, however, the mid-day is quite often clear and bright with temperatures sometimes getting up to the late teen's.

Then there's the rain. It isn't unusual for many parts of the country only to see rain for a couple of months of the year - quite often marking the changes of the seasons like the 'Gota Fria' of October and then again around Spring time. When the rains come it isn't like in the UK when a rainy period can last for days with that 'will it / won't it' kind of weather that can't make it's mind up. When it rains in Spain it's not unusual for many people not to leave their homes for days on end. The fact that Spain is the second most mountainous country in Europe means that it has a lot of steep Valleys, and this together with the fact that the ground is often baked hard from months of sun means that when the rain does come it can't soak in quickly and courses down the mountains and into the valleys with sometimes devastating effect.

Only 3 years ago I saw with my own eyes two cars being washed down the valley in what is for most of the year a dry river bed. Further downstream the torrent knocked down a bridge which was a connecting road between two towns, and crashed through a house washing an elderly lady out to sea. It's not unusual to hear of dozens of people killed by flash floods every year in Spain.

But most people's perceptions of Spain is that it is Sunny and hot all year round. Just because they had a holiday in Malaga during August when it was quite hot, they assume that a January in Leon will be equally warm ( Leon, Incidentally recorded a temperature of minus 21c during the night last week). Equally so, many are surprised to hear that Spain is home to Europes Ski resort with the longest year round season. The Sierra Nevada ski resort in Granada often opens before every other Swiss or Austrian resort and it is possible to still ski there long after the snow has dissappeared from other resorts at the end of the season.

But still the stereotypical image of Brit family baking to a crisp on a beach in Benidorm whilst glugging a San Miguel and munching on a Paella still persists.

Perhaps the thing that is most difficult to get used to for most expats is the extremes. It was only 4 Months ago that I was sleeping through the night with the windows wide open, the fan on full blast and without any covers on the bed. Daytime temperatures were often up to 38 Degress and nightime temperatures dropped to 20 Degrees. Now, just 4 Months later, the log fire burns almost 24 hours a day, I have to de-ice my car every morning and we sleep with the heating on full blast, snuggled under 2 duvets. Just as you get used to the cold the hot weather kicks in and knocks you for six, and vice versa !

So the next time I hear the 'amusing' quip of the rain in Spain being 'mainly on the plain', I am likely to headbutt somebody. After all, whenever I am in Hertfordshire, Hereford or Halifax (Ok, I made that last one up), you never here me expressing dissappointment that 'Hurricane hardly ever happen'.

(With apologies to Lerner and Lowe, and any other fans of Musical Theatre)

Comment on this Blog

Una - If you read the blog again, I think that you are trying to say that you DO agree with Mr Grumpy ?
Tyler - Fri, 4th Oct 2013
Dear Sir, I agree with you, I have a mountain in front of my house, last year the rain came came in torrents, a young girl of 23 was driving her car from one village to home, when the water from the mountain rushed across the road washed her car into a farmers deposito,( a very large holding reservoir for water ) while using her mobile inside car to call for help she drowned inside the car, people in UK don,t realise things like this happen out here, plus flooding or heavy rain knocks out the electric overhere..........
Una-faye Marie - Tue, 20th Nov 2012

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