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The British love to talk about the weather, and Gibraltar has the best of British weather !

The climate of Gibraltar is temperate. During the winter months the prevailing wind is from the west often north-west and occasionally south-west. Snow or frost is extremely rare. Rain in the winter can be heavy, but is rare after the spring.

The mean minimum and maximum temperatures during this period are 13C and 18C respectively.

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

Gibraltar enjoys a typical Mediterranean climate with a very dry summer, some months having no rain at all on average. The daily average maximum temperatures are lower than those of southern Spain. An all-year-round feature of Gibraltar's weather is the gustiness of the winds, caused by the shape of the 300-metre rocky peninsula.

Gibraltar is a place of Meteorological extremes where weather is governed by the Levanter - a warm breeze laden with moisture that strikes the eastern face of the Rock, condenses in the sky above it and causes a cold pall to hang over the city and bay. During this period the climate is humid. The mean minimum and maximum temperatures in the summer are 13C and 30C respectively. Poniente are local winds that blow through the Strait from an easterly or westerly direction and bring hot, clear and mostly dry weather.

In summer, the mainly dry season, the wind from the East or Levanter, brings warm and humid conditions and can generate a rather persistent 'Rock Top' cloud that hangs over the city area. Sea fog is not uncommon on these occasions. Summer brings an average of 10.5 hours of sunshine per day. The summer drought frequently lasts 90 consecutive days.

The mean temperature in August is 24.3C. Winter 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 13.5C. 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.

© Jim Watt, 2005

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