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Gran Canaria Weather: Predictions of rain to come, a little on Monday, then more by the weekend

Gran Canaria Weather: Predictions of rain to come, a little on Monday, then more by the weekend

Spain’s State Meteorological Agency (AEMET) have issued a warning of a “drastic change in weather” on the Spanish Peninsula this week, as reported in Spanish-language daily La provincia, with snowfall likely, and here in the Canary Islands Archipelago on Sunday they reported that “a frontal structure, associated with an Atlantic storm, is producing storms to the west of the Canary Islands and to the north, affecting Madeira”.

This Monday morning, what is known in Spanish as a DANA (Depresión Aislada en Niveles Altos, which translates as a Higher-Level Isolated Depression) is heading into Spain from the north of the Iberian Peninsula, from high latitudes, and looks set to evolve over coming days into a cold storm, isolated from the general circulatory motion.

Here in the Canary Islands, AEMET has warned of a nearby Atlantic storm, which is currently causing heavy rain to the west of the Archipelago looks sure to bring rains to the Islands.

In general this Monday, AEMET predicts cloudy intervals, with a probability of weak rains to the south of the islands, mainly during the morning and early hours, and to the east of the islands during the afternoon, where locally moderate showers are not ruled out. Minimum night-time temperatures of around 17ºC, decreasing slightly as we move through the week, and daytime maximums of between 23º and 24ºC, in the shade, with few changes through the week, though perhaps a slight decrease by next weekend, when heavy rains are still showing on the long-range predictions. Variable winds with a predominance of breezes, particularly along the coasts, and on the peaks, generally weak westerly winds.

The cloud cover is expected to thicken up by Thursday, with moderate rainfall expected by the afternoon, and winds dropping before developing a more southerly component, as the chances of more intense rain increase, heading into Saturday, when widespread and persistent thunderstorms are predicted across the archipelago, by long-range forecasters. The winds will shift once more to blow from the north, bringing the potential of much colder air, and even a suggestion of snow on the very highest peaks.

Rain in Gran Canaria’s Tourist Heartlands

Rainfall is pretty rare in the main tourist resort areas like Puerto Rico de Gran Canaria, Playa de Mogán, Arguineguín, Maspalomas & Playa del Inglés, in the municipalities Mogán and San Bartolomé de Tirajana, in fact there have only been two or three short showers since early Spring, this year.

You see, the island moves as a great ship through the clouds, her bow in the temperate capital, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, and her stern in the more tropical zone of Mogán. 

As the prevailing winds, known as the Trade Winds or Alisios, blow from the North East to the South West; any rain clouds that do find their way to the islands are usually caught up in the Northern foothills, where we have much higher rainfall, having to find their way around, or over, our higher altitude mountain summits.  The good ship Gran Canaria ploughs through and divides these clouds, meaning we often get fast-moving winds on the north-western points and all the way down the eastern coasts, with the grey weather tending to completely miss the sunnier south and south-western areas,  in the lee of the island.  If a storm does hit us, these southerly areas, aft, mostly continue to enjoy bright blue skies in the wake of a fairly constant “bubble of sunshine”, as described by the Gurus over at Gran Canaria Info.

The exception to this is when storms or depressions form in the mid-Atlantic Ocean, depending on their position and the direction of travel, their cyclical nature can appear to ‘suck’ warm air off the African continent, bringing us hot winds, and even Saharan sands, from the east, potentially feeding the depression over colder oceanic waters.  If the storm moves towards us then these winds can quickly reverse to blow from the West and the South.

Should a storm be travelling north, towards the Tropic of Cancer, then more often than not, we here on Gran Canaria are protected from it by Mount Teide, on Tenerife.  The Islands west of Tenerife, however, will oftentimes receive large, even torrential, downpours without a drop of it ever reaching these islands, east of Spain’s tallest mountain and volcano.

There are times, though fairly rare, when storms rumble around the Atlantic Ocean, sending us Southerly winds, and bringing with them storm clouds that can suddenly surprise us with rain showers and, very occasionally, squalls along the coasts and heading inland from our usually sunnier holiday spots.

All of this makes what rainfall we do get on the south notoriously hard to predict, with professional meteorologists and sailors alike working hard to forecast the potential motion of any weather system that could disrupt our nearly “eight hours a day”, every day on average, of annual sunshine and blue skies on the south.  All in all, few visitors are ever likely to experience rain here, and if they do it is usually very short-lived, but experience has taught us, as it has all the islanders, to keep one eye on the horizons, particularly around mid-autumn, winter and into early Spring, just in case an unusually dark cloud might appear to be headed in this direction, as once or twice every four to six years or so, we receive an almighty deluge, turning the weather we are all used to on its head.

And to tell the truth, we are always most grateful for it.  It is these occasional cloudbursts that fill and feed our reservoirs, and thereby our crops, lowering our dependence on imported foods and fuels used to desalinate water from the seas.

So, if you are on the south, and you hear a rain warning, know that it is very unusual and that it may not even arrive as predicted, but when it does rain it can do so with force, never usually more than for a day or two, and most often for much less time than that; and that we relish it as surely as a sunny day in Edinburgh must be enjoyed, in the knowledge that everything will return to normal quickly, leaving us all better off for it.

Timon .:.



Concern on La Palma
AEMET’s predicted arrival of the storm, currently out at sea, could well affect La Palma island, which continues in its fight against the erupting volcano that has been going on for 64 days and counting, since it erupted on September 19. Ash accumulated on the roofs of the buildings is one of the aspects that most concerns the authorities.  La Palma airport has had to be shut again this weekend, with thousands of tourists finding themselves stranded, unable to leave except by boat.

The lava from the La Palma volcano has now covered 1,065.9 hectares of land, affecting 2,746 buildings, of which 2,651 have been completely destroyed, and 95 are possibly damaged, according to the latest data provided by the European satellite monitoring system Copernicus.

The damage thus far, affecting around 10% of the island, has been estimated at more than €1 billion, with Local, Regional, National and European-wide agencies all co-ordinating to ensure funds are arriving, and nearly 600 displaced families will be rehomed, with newly constructed, eco-friendly accommodations.

Millions have also been raised by various grassroots organisations, along with donations of clothes, food, and other necessities; and crucially without any serious casualties.

The Canary Islands’ communities are all working together to ensure that those who have lost to the volcano will be well looked after.

Even more difficult to predict than the rainfall is when the current eruptive process might finally come to an end.  It’s a volcano, and like the weather, it does what it does and all we can do is observe, and look out for each other.  It is worth remembering too that while Lanzarote’s Timanfaya eruption in 1730 lasted for six years, causing 80% of the then population to leave; on La Palma right now, 90% of the island are fairly unaffected, just trying to learn to live with the firey mountain in the southwest and get on with their normal lives.

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