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Weather

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Weather

Table of contents


History

One of the earliest events to concentrate the minds of Gibraltar's citizens on the weather occurred on 31st January 1776, when 50 lives were lost in a great deluge of unrecorded intensity. During this terrific storm, 33 inches of rain (838 mm) are said to have fallen in 26 hours.

The Royal Engineers began regular observations of rainfall in 1790 and have continued with only minor interruptions until the present time, providing the Meteorological Office with one of the oldest and most complete data sets in the whole of the Iberian Peninsula.

In the mid 1930s, the Royal Navy set up an observing station at Windmill Hill to serve the need of the flying boats, operating in the Bay of Gibraltar. In 1938 the Meteorological Office took over the responsibility of all observing and forecast services, including the supply of weather information to the Combined HQ for the North Africa landings in 1942. At the end of the war in Europe, the forecast and observing services were combined in NissenHut accommodation, moving to the current location in the Air Traffic Control building in May 1955.
At present, surface weather observations of temperature, wind, visibility, cloud, sunshine, rainfall and atmospheric pressure are made hourly, and sounding of the upper atmosphere, by radio-sonde balloons is carried out every 12 hours. The Meteorological Office Gibraltar today enjoys high-speed satellite data links with its HQ in Bracknell providing services to Aviation, Shipping, Building, Business, Media and Leisure.

Statistics

Statistical information can be obtained by contacting The Gibraltar Meteorological Office, the following services are available:

  • Yearly Reports
  • Monthly Reports
  • Daily Reports of adverse weather conditions
  • Rainfall Analysis
  • Wind Analysis
  • Sunshine Analysis
  • Temperature Analysis

Please contact the Met Office for further information and rates.
email: gibmet@gibnynex.gi
Fax: (350) 53474
Telephone: (350) 53415/53419

Climate

The climate of Gibraltar is considerably affected by local topography and the proximity of the Mediterranean and Atlantic Oceans.

Gibraltar's weather is governed by the Levanter and Poniente, local winds that blow through the Strait from an easterly or westerly direction. In summer, the mainly dry season, the wind from the East or Levanter brings warm and humid conditions and generates a rather persistent 'Rock top' cloud that hangs over the city area. Sea fog is not uncommon on these occasions. The Poniente, or westerlywind, however, brings hot, clear and mostly dry weather.

Meteorological peculiarities of Gibraltar

Because of its location, on the edge of Europe, close to Africa and as guardian of the strait, linking the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, Gibraltar is at a place of meteorological extremes.

Topography

The unique position of Gibraltar, and the immediate strait area enjoy a unique position lying at the western entrance to the Alboran Basin which is guarded by the Atlas mountain range to the south, and Sierra Nevada to the north. These ranges act as a massive barrier to air entering or leaving the Alboran Basin and consequently, in the Strait Area, the low level air is constrained to flow in mainly easterly or westerly streams.

Summer in Gibraltar

Summer is dry and warm with an average of 10.5 hours of sunshine per day. The summer drought frequently lasts 90 consecutive days.

The mean temperature in August is 24.3°C.

Winter in Gibraltar

Winter in Gibraltar can be a mixture of fine, wet and cool weather. On average only 30% of days are classified as 'wet', although rainfall amounts can be variable in the extreme.

The mean temperature in January is 13.5°C.

5 Day and shipping forecasts

The office is one of the few in the region that is continuously manned for both forecasting and observations. Whilst our main work concentrates on the weather of Gibraltar, nearby Spain and the straits, we are able to provide reliable guidance for up to five days over most of Europe, North Africa and for the Canary Islands.

Forecasts available:

Sailing/shipping:
The Alboran Gibraltar to The Canaries

Windsurfing:
Tarifa - latest conditions - outlook for next five days

Photography:
General weather and cloud conditions along the Costas

Holiday weather:
Five day outlook for Gibraltar and Spanish resorts

For Further Information Please Contact - Duty Forecaster Tel: 53416