Crete - The year of weather we enjoyed back in 2006!
January 2006. A mild and most pleasant start which suggests there are those very good days in winter...in Crete. Sunny start to the year with al fresco dining temperatures of 20-21 degrees - certainly enough to enjoy the champagne to signal the year's arrival in the great outdoors! But this is winter...the third day of the month is colder, bright and clear with 15-20% cloud cover much of the day. The fifth day brings intermittent rain and 45-60% cloud cover- varying across the island. Rest of the first week includes overnight rain and daytime temperatures reaching 15-18 degrees.
8th January is more dramatic with a 6.7 Richter scale earthquake which fortunately feels much worse than it is. It lasts about 35 seconds - that is a long time for such phenomena. After this days are rainy or not but a cool and sometime chill feeling (high humidity) 10-12 degrees. The real heavy and somewhat damaging rain is felt on the 12-14 January turning on of "celestial taps"!. Rest of January bounces around between 12, 14, 16 degree days and a few that are warmer, with some rainy patches, a couple of thunder storms, light to medium winds and another last week of the monht, flood-inducing rainfall.
February starts with wind gusts and evening lightening storms. but immediately strides into bright and mild (20 degrees) days - followed by a return to winter weather with 10-12 degree days. Some partly bright, some partly dull! Some bobbing up to 16 degrees, rain, cold nights (down to 4-5 degrees often but some just below zero degree nights with frost). Snow on the major mountain ranges is now become a good dense cover and alpine views mixed with sea blue hews, excite and take the breath away. Occasional and typical gusty island winds.
March is off to a sunny start but ends the first week with rain - light as it may be. Most days are sunny to mid month, starting early mornings at 4-6 degrees and reaching variously 15, 16 even 19 degrees warm - but it feels cold (real temperature experience is lower due to winds and high dampness quotients). The 29th brings an eclipse - producing some general darkening (2 stops on the exposure meter), a stillness and lack of birds in flight, followed by a certain tension, followed by return to a normality that seems conspicuous!
April begins with a joke and ends on a sunny note! But it is warm (compared to good old Iceland) and has as expected gusty winds, 19-23 degree temperatures, a day of red rain - what's that you may say, it is when Crete receives winds or rain containing airborn sand and dust particles imported (generally) from northern Africa...affects quite a few parts of Greece, Crete does not have an exclusive arrangement! Snow on the mountains becomes noticeably thinner leaving dreams of wished-for ski possibilities melting like worn out ice popsicles.
May gets going with stable mild yet cool, pleasing yet warmth-yearning temperatures of 20-23 degrees for the first half, some blustering "High wind in Jamaica"-style winds and non-threatening 8-11 degree overnight temperatures. Last week of the month requires no indoor heating (but wait - those who like to keep warm do use heating at night for the first week or so of June) and also boosts our spirits with a day that reaches 26 degrees and then Oh boy, watch out, this'll feed the misled global warming groupies - we get a 33, then 34 degree heat wave day - followed by an intra month cooling to days where we chill-out (!) at 28-30 degrees and put on our fur coats again. So now it is the turn of the best of months the one above and beyond all others...
June is off to a pleasant start on a breezy picnic of a day, but wait, not for long - sizzling sounds approach as the very second day of June delivers Crete weather wowser, 32 degrees - phew, huff, swim in the sea, what do we do, turn on the ac, dig a water hole...mornings start at 10-12 degrees, days enter the daylight zone at 27-31 degrees - some hot June this weather, this Crete! By mid-June days are starting first thing in the early morn which suggest it is time to move the espresso machine outside and finally seal those winter clothes away in a lead-lined, moth-proof, bureaucrat-disinfected box. Into the bargain we get a partly cloudy day or two - but that is all. Otherwise it is sun, sun, sun with the rest of the month of June after the 17th hanging fire at 30-32 degrees - rather hot for June we think. The 26th of the month through the 29th show choppy seas here and there and up to 5% cloud in some areas, but still it is warm enough to melt butter on sight (28.5 to 32 degrees).
July wanders in with days oscillating between 25 and 29 degrees centigrade at their peak. At the beginning of the month we even see some partly cloudy days...but nothing to disappoint too much or for too long! Mid month the 13th and 14th were humid, then hazy then normal after this, temperatures doing the 29-30 degree daily dance. After this it is plain sailing into the last week of the month with warmth each day, dare we say heat each day in the 30's.
August excluding parts of days on the 10th and 18th with moments of very high haze levels (misty - but then the hottest days are not always the clearest and we are talking only of slight diminution of photograph quality for you photographers!) - the month is bright, some days of windy weather (28th and 29th were notable) and temperatures from 31-33 degrees with a slightly more sizzling 34 and 35 on occasion in our Crete hot-spots! By the way at the very end of August light starts to subside at a minute or two after 2000 hours (8PM) and hits its darkest at around 2045 (8.45PM).
September "Sometimes a great month" to paraphrase Ken Kesey - this one was a bit "faulty" however. At the start it immediately imposed itself with classic warm Crete September days in the 26-30 degree range of daily highs. Hazy, steamy in places and a few raindrops on 17th as a precursor to dark clouds on the afternoon of the 19th - still largely sunny with a few drops of rain (only) here and there until the 25th. The 27th and 28th - hot (29-30) and sunny. or two
October A little cooler as it "should be" but rather unpredictable after the first handful of days - some days of rain and surprisingly cool temperatures in the high teens (17-19 degrees). Torrential rain on the 17th and rain "never seen before" caused disruption and some damage, including major inconvenience and cost. We should be able to control weather by now but - well, one day.
November A little snow on the mountains of Crete is the weather gift this month brings; the romance of frosted peaks! Anyone who can afford to, and wants to be comfortable indoors starts using heating indoors!
December a sunny first three days of the month in December in Athens! The n two sunny days in Crete with temperatures rising each day to 18-19 degrees. It was similar with some scattered cloud until the 12th, some rain that day and then dark cloud and winds on the 14th and 15th. Clear and still warm until the 20th. Quite cloudy until the 25th (Christmas day, when the afternoon became sunny). Cloudy, windy, rough sees until the 28th...then clear and bright and sunny until a partly to fully cloudy last day, 31st of December, 2006.
Crete - The year of weather 2005
January. The month which should start the delivery of a little rain to Crete. After all, so much grows so well in Crete and winter is the time when our supply is replenished with a little rain, a little sun and moments of surprisingly mild temperatures (in the sun - fleeting moments I might add). We see maximum daytime numbers of 12-22 degrees, a huge variation during the month. Days of dullness and days where our brightness and blue sky indexes flirt with the 8.0 mark - best you can measure (those cool clear wondrous winter sun days). The month ends with a latter part of the day and its entrance to February under rain. Weather is always interesting in the winter.
Tuesday 1st of February starts bright and sunny, a tease indeed, as rain sprays its way on and off during the day. The first week of February 2005 gives us the dramatic High Wind in Crete gusts and a very chilly evening or two. Some parts have overnight 3-5 degree visits. We also receive some days where many never feel the warmth of double digits and we hit peaks of only 9 degrees...it is the time of an odd wintry overcast day (William Turner could not have painted well on many days here, but there are a few!). A bonus in the third week with some days thrilling us at 16 degrees...then as if to re-state this we have 19-20 degrees for 2.5 days around the 23rd of the month. The last week sees hazy sun, bright sun, little sun mood swings and 17-20 degree daytimes.
March is often sunny, often cloudy, with pink early morning mountainscapes, white mountain tips during the days or no visible mountains as we hide all in cloud and swoon. We also see some gusty severe winds which clear things (stopping a few ferry sailings of course) and lead to the odd clear, bright, encouraging, welcoming sunny day. Don't loose heart - the month won't let you as there are some dog gone great sun washed days too, where we see a mind-boggling 23.5 degrees (a summer temperature for northern US and European climes). The clocks go forward at the end of the month, and as if in response we are grilled nicely at 25 degrees one day, 27 the next.
As if the last day of March needs to greet the next month it pours on the 31st all day and introduces April with a day of yes...April showers! And April does not it seems, want to be left out of the power struggle for cool weather and throws us a couple of days where top temp is 13 degrees. Then the next 10 days is mild cool, 20-23 degrees, some sun, some cloud. With a good warm jacket you are okay until a stormy day on the 17th, with no visibility and yellowish light (there is disruption of normal flight schedules). OK now we get going - from the 23rd to the end of the month we have mainly sunny days and 20-24 degree temperatures and beautiful fragrances some evenings...spring flowers have sprung.
May gets your money's worth - it's really mild and you sometimes venture into the shade to stay cool (the acid test!), with most days sunny and daytimes bringing 22-26 degrees. But three days at the end of the month disappoint, with shabby cloud and haze.
June presenting a prelude, start and leading passage of summer - bright days with not more than a handful of cloudy disappointments. The month is warm and gentle at the beginning (daytimes to 24, 25 even 28 degrees) and a serious business-like warmth of 28-31 degrees at the end. June's weather this year steals a little of everything (except winter), supplying some mild sun, some scorching days and some windy rattles. The last day of June is 33-34 degrees and sunny.
July - no messing...this year July starts as it means to end - hot! Most days are sunny and reach 30-33 degrees, a few boil on up to 38. The days start warm enough - even in the early hours and evenings beg you be outdoors. At 7 in the morning it is often 23-25 degrees and evenings are similar at a late hour.
August reliably delivers summer weather. Too hot for some (even the nights feel warm) but a blessed tingle of happiness for many (especially those visiting the island). If you want to sleep on the balcony or the roof, this is the time. Warm days are 29-35 degrees (an occasional sizzler peaks at 38). There can be and are a couple of very windy days - a hot wind's gonna blow they say, and it does.
September is firm in its statement and does not want to be mistaken for the previous month. From day one - the 1st - we moderate our daily highs to the high 20's - it is generally peaking at 28-29 degrees...until the 15th when the weather changes for change's sake and it pours with rain in the early evening, the temperature falling to a shivering 23 degrees centigrade! We then continue with mainly sunny until the 25th with light rain in the early afternoon followed by the big downpour after about 4.30 PM. The last three days solidly claim the 27-28 degree maximum day plateau.
October 2005 - yes it is a bit cooler. First day, sunny and 27 degrees, a bit of rain in the evening. Some breezy days but not dramatically so in the first week. The first 9 days have been noticeably cooler than most of September and several days though bristling with sun have topped out at 24-25 degrees. The 7th through the 9th have been a bit on the cloudy side off and on in some parts and most of the day in other areas of Crete. The 10th of October is rainy and cloudy but the cloud is not dark and the sky still surprisingly bright for the most part.
Crete - The year of weather 2004
January: we start the year with frosty nights, some crisp sunny moments, thickly snow-capped mountains and some noticeable rainfall. From the 1st day of January most days have included a variety of a little rain, a little sun and moments of surprisingly mild (in the sun) temperature - allowing a brave outdoor cafe experience! Mornings start off at between 4 and 8 degrees, warming to variously 9-15 degrees in general.
February: Brief addition - sunny days of up to 21 degrees have alternated with freezing nights, followed by rainy or windy days with a top temperature of 8-12 degrees. But on 13 Feb 2004, it snowed! Over 16 cm at sea level near Chania. Many trees were brutally damaged by the surprise weight of snow on branches which never grew used to this "northern" winter phenomenon.
February 23-26 with warm summery weather. Many hours of sunshine and maximum daytime temperatures of 22-24 degrees. Next we have had varied days, some sun, but cooler temperatures of 17-20 degrees, a few nipped in at just 15.
A little rain in early March - unpredictable if you are out and about...with night temperatures falling to 5 degrees and in cooler areas a tad below freezing. March slides around with days at 15-16 degrees, then 2 days would be 24 degrees! After the 22nd of March sunny days seem to alternate with cooler cloudy periods. Some heavy showers at night and a couple of Beaufort-breaking windy weeks, with the odd ferry not sailing until calmer weather prevails.
April might start with a joke, even in Crete...but this year has brought early spring wild flowers and many beautiful, bright, crystal clear sunny days (or part of the days at least!).
Good Easter weather. Easter weekend was sunny over most of the island, on the south coast the burning of the Judas doll occurred anywhere from six in the evening to midnight, after a sunny day with broken cloud and maximums of 22-25 degrees. Towards the end of April daytimes reached 19 to 23 degrees, some gusty moments and cool evenings...some nights felt cold with the mix of 11-13 degree lows and high island humidity.
May gets warmer, but varied and the first few days bring temperatures of 23-26degrees, strong gusting winds...leading to one of the strongest "Sahara rains" in memory. On the night of 5-6 May cars changed colour, church roofs became a uniform rust brown and the leaves of plants were coated with a thick emulsion of mud. Within two weeks rain, heavy enough to "shampoo the carpet of Crete", rinsed and erased away all trace of this unsightly residue.
Several days and nights delivered wind gusts another "high wind in Crete" here and there.
Our Brightness Index and Blue Sky Index varied wildly during the month from 4.8 (very dull) to 7.0 or so (bright for the time of year). By the second week we get samples of 28 degree days...but then until the end of May Crete has the cool of 19 degree and 21 degree maximums, some days of rain and most a mix of fair dry and washy wet weather.
June is always welcome! So is its weather. With a few interruptions we start to have sunny days almost daily and 24-27 degree highs (a few 28-29 degree days for good measure). When does the cold toe get warm?
Always by or from mid June. Hot weather - what many expect of Crete - started to mould its way into our daily lives on the 12th of June and from the 14th simmered up to regular 28-32 degree days. 16-22 June (with a one-afternoon blunder of stormy looking cloud, drops of rain, and big bad wind gusts) gave us 32-34 degrees each day, usually with a mild comforting breeze, until 24th and 25th June reach a more moderate, but very warm 28-30 degrees around the island, a few puffs of mountain-daring cloud, some heat-haze but otherwise 7.3 on our Blue Sky Index and 7.2 on our Brightness Index.
A Brightness Index of 5.0 is a very dull day - 3.0 would be a no moon, pitch black night; 8.0 is the highest we can measure.
A Blue Sky Index of 5.0 means thick dark cloud, with little apparent light source; 8.0 means "I can't see anything resembling a cloud anywhere!".
Both indexes are subjective - human visual assessments. As with all measures, conditions can vary surprisingly across the island and at different altitudes.
The Year of weather 2003
January: some wonderful sunny days - the first ten days of the month with daily temperatures of 18-19 degrees centigrade, a favourable January - but with a fair amount of rain and colder days (12-15 degrees) up to the end of the month.
However - we have had to be labeled, weather-wise, with much of Europe in February: This month has brought exceptionally cold weather (for Crete) with periods in the third week of February where daytime maximums have been 8-9 degrees even at sea level. Snow is visible (as of late February) at elevations above 200-250 metres. It has also been dramatically gusty, with strong - batten down the hatches - winds.
Early March starts with blustery winds but temperatures are in the early teens (13-15 degrees). By the middle of the month we start to see milder temperatures on occasion - also severe gusting winds and stormy weather. Overall it has been an exceptionally cold winter, one of the most extreme for many years, beating last year's exceptional weather in extreme and road-damaging conditions.
In the middle of April we are delighted but also fooled by a few days of 20 plus degree weather, only to have windy cooler weather (14-17 degrees) and some rain, off and on during the month. April ends and May begins on a bright and warmer note - we have a daily serving of 20 degree sunny weather most of the month, but are sent running for light jackets in the second half on some days as temperatures rise and fall, reaching between 17 and 25 degrees (quite a range) from one day to another.
Now June sets the trend for the rest of the summer - a few days into the month and we rarely see the temperature fail to achieve 27-29 degrees, with a few hotter days.
July and August have simmered with bright sun, blue skies, at a maximum daily temperature of 28-33 degrees (the south coast often experiencing 2- 3 degrees more). No rain (bar a local shower for a few hours a couple of times). Crete has escaped the July and August heat-waves that afflicted much of Europe - leading us to suggest people might "come on down and cool down...in Crete" - until now...
The last weekend in August has delivered a "sizzling Sunday" and we are venturing up above 34-36 degrees depending on where you are on this large and varied island. Swimming is the weekends best bet...those who are near a pool or the beach, are surely staying put!
September's first 4 days are hot with bright sun and temperatures reaching 26-29 degrees - some windy moments. Three days of mild 21-23 degrees, calm seas, cool mornings. Then 5 days until the 12th are hot again - light breezes, lioght seas and 27-29 degrees. With occasional winds (an island we are on, after all), untilk the 24th 25-28 degrees is our range, bright and welcoming days. 2 days dip in temperature and some winds, and a 25-27 degree end of the month.
The first week of October is calm and warm. Some local (Crete varies in local conditions - a large island) variations mean some places are cloudy and windy for short periods, until the middle of October the weather is moderate, cool to warm - quite sunny on occasions. Second half brings some south winds with almost six days of sunny, hazy 27-30 degrees. Cold day (just one!) in the last week, then we cruise through into the first week of November with warm, mild temperature, 60-75% bright skies.
November starts to assert a new cool though on the 6th until the 16th with some rainy days, some sharp winds and oscillating daytime temperatures varying between 12 and 19 degrees. The 18th to the 23rd are warm, just about sunbathing weather. The last week in November is good for walking and trekking (daytime range of 17-19 degrees and not much rain).
December switches to cold, wet and windy mode. Some days of harsh winds, plentiful rain and duller skies. We are now in the 12-17 degree, moist period. Temperatures generally continue to the end of the month with a rapid variation of heavy rain, bright sun, haziness, clouds, moments of mildness. In any four day period this December you would have had one to two days (split into moments, hours or afternoons!), some hazy, cloudy and bright days, some rainy days. Christmas dawns and lights are more plentiful (decorations for the holiday) this year than ever before....things sparkle to end the year! The Lefka Ori (White Mountains) are a magical panorama of alpine snowfall - a living Christmas and New Year greeting card...
The Year of Weather 2002
After one of the stormiest winters (2001/2002) anyone could remember (the rest of Greece included), where we saw some snow showers flurrying across the beach a couple of times and a few villages cut off for a number of days, we started to receive samples of milder and sunny weather in the midst of this in the third week of January.
Early February: 14-16 degree (Celsius) maximums, but some tough winds and good rainfall.
March paraded some pleasant warm days with sun (19/20 degrees). But until April the whole period blew hard and fast on many gusty days. April gave us many 20 to 22 degree sunny days, ventilated with a few nudging only 16! May we started above 20 degrees as a maximum daytime temperature and experienced up to 28 degree warmth.
June and July - sunny almost every day, 23-30 degrees, plus a 5 days period in the middle of July of 31-36 degree temperatures. August, for the first two weeks soared in a range between 32 and 36 degrees, back to the high 20's for most of the rest of the month - most but not all. End of August and a few days of September were an unwelcome surprise for all - rain and winds, quite heavy on several days , damaged the grape crop and dampened the summer (this is very rare for Crete). But oh good, we had a superb second half of September and first half of October, with a varied but generally mild second half (a few punctuations of storms). So until the end of October many sunny pleasing days. Middle of November has cooled ready for the days of more alternating weather - autumn and then winter, we hope will be mild with some rain at night and sunny days!
A brief, additional weather history. The spring months of the year 2000 were unusually cool - way into June. The last months of 2000 delivered negligible rainfall. 2001 saw a cold start with warm weather from April onwards. Also in 2001, the end of November had been noticeably cold with early December (up to the 13th) cold with gusting, extreme winds and excessive rainfall. None of this is "typical" . These unpredictable weather patterns are now the "norm" worldwide. That means everywhere. Yes, everywhere.
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