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24 AprLocal Time: 02:01 WEST UK Time: 02:01 BST
- Sunrise 07:20
- Sunset 20:25
- Moonrise 03:13
- Moonset 14:47
|Temp feels like:||64°F (18°C)|
|Length of Day:||10h 19m|
|Pressure:||30.18 " (1022 hpa)|
|Visiblity:||16 miles (25 km)|
Average for April: 66°F (19°C)
Weather Overview for Lanzarote
Lanzarote enjoys high temperatures, low rainfall and endless sunshine throughout the year. It is the easternmost island of Spain’s Canary Islands which sit far south of the Spanish mainland, closer to the west coast of Northern Africa.
The Canaries are often called ‘The Islands of Eternal Spring’ due to their enviable climate. Lanzarote and the other Canaries are thought to have the perfect temperature all-year-round, much cooler than the Sahara, which lies at the same latitude.
Even though Lanzarote is found only 127km away from the Sahara Desert, there several other factors which greatly influence its climate.
Although they’re present all-year-round, the north-easterly trade winds are at their most consistent during the middle of summer (June-August). These winds help to keep the temperatures more moderate than you’d expect for an island on the same latitude as the Sahara. The winds can sometimes change direction to the east, resulting in the Saharan winds bringing scorching temperatures and low visibility, known locally as a ‘calima’.
The second climatic influence which helps cool the temperatures in Lanzarote is known as the Canary Current. This current is caused by the trade winds and helps to moderate the heat by bringing cool seawater temperatures from the north of the Atlantic, past the shores of Lanzarote and down the west coast of Africa. This cool water mixes with the naturally warm waters which lie just north of the Canary Islands, creating a pleasant sea temperature around Lanzarote which most find ideal for swimming year-round.
Lanzarote’s position, close to the Western Sahara and Morocco, makes it the hottest of the Canaries and its relatively flat topography means there is little regional variation in weather conditions.
Saying this, the weather in Lanzarote does differ very slightly throughout the various parts of the island, with a number of specific microclimates. The north of Lanzarote is usually cloudier and windier than the south and is often characterised by rainier weather, resulting in more lush plant growth and an overall greener appearance. The south of Lanzarote is known for its drier, hotter and more moderate climate which features around 2,500 hours of sunshine each year.
Despite the island’s relatively low topography, there are two low mountain ranges which do somewhat block the cool northeast trade winds and the hot westerly winds coming over from mainland Africa.
As a result, the western side of the island is typically hotter and drier than the eastern portion. This has created a stark contrast in landscape from one side of the island to the other; the western side is desert-like, often compared to the alien surface of Mars, while the eastern side is quite green.
The combination of the hot and dry microclimate of the south and west of the island and the cooler and damper microclimate of the north and east of the island make the south western regions – such as Playa Blanca and the Timanfaya National Park – hotter than the north eastern parts of the island – such as La Arrieta and Guatiza.
From April till November, Lanzarote is hot and dry. The average high temperature climbs from 24°C in April to a peak of 29°C in August, getting back down to 24°C in November. At the beginning and very end of the season nights cool down pleasantly to around 17°C but the peak months generally stay around 20°C.
Luckily, sea breezes which blow freely across the island and low humidity ease the heat. However, if the sirocco wind is blowing from the east, from Africa and the Sahara, temperatures can soar to 40°C and a drought can set in. Locals refer to this phenomenon as ‘Calima’ or ‘Tiempo Africano’. The sirocco can be incredibly strong and whip up violent sandstorms. Sandstorms reduce visibility and can bring all transport to a halt; they generally disrupt any holiday activity and can last anywhere between an hour and a week.
Rainfall is pretty much negligible throughout the season though the fringes of the season might see the odd brief downpour. Generally, clear skies are uninterrupted and Lanzarote sees long hours of sunshine. June to July is the sunniest period. Sea temperatures climb up the low 20s to a peak of 22°C in September and October.
December to March is warm with cool nights. The average high temperature drops to around 21°C for most of the season, creeping up to 23°C in March. Night time lows fall to 16°C in December, 14°C in January and 13°C in February, getting back up to 15°C in March. Daytime temperatures in the low 20s will be preferable to the summer highs for many and the cool nights can come as a relief. Again, if the sirocco wind blows, temperatures can be sent into the high 20s and sandstorms can develop, but this is more likely in the summer.
Rainfall does increase in this season but storms are only expected on around five days in each month and they do not tend to last for very long. This can cause flash flooding but the inconvenience caused is usually short-lived.
These brief bursts of rain leave plenty of time for sunshine and most days see at least seven hours of it. The sea temperature drops to its coolest between February and April, but at 18°C, it’s still just warm enough for swimming. People may find that smaller bodies of water, hotel swimming pools for example, do not have time to heat up in the day after the cool nights.
Lanzarote is actually much cooler than you might expect, given its latitude which it shares with the Sahara. This is due to the usual effects of being surrounded by sea, but adding to this is the Canary Current – a stream of cool water that flows around the Canaries. Lanzarote receives much lower rainfall than the other Canary Islands due to its flat topography which allows clouds to blow freely past the island.
Dust storms are a regular occurrence in Lanzarote, hitting the area in the late winter and early spring period, usually February-March.
When these occur, they can be so severe as to block out the sun and reduce visibility to 200 metres or less.
The storms are largely controlled by North Africa’s weather patterns. When the Sahara experiences a heavy rainfall in its short wet season, the dust storms in Lanzarote are far less likely. However, if it misses out on its yearly rainfall, the storms are likely to be far more intense.
Because they will so seriously affect your holiday by making going outside unpleasant, it is wise to try and travel outside of these months. If you do travel during this time, be aware that they can cause airport delays, if the weather conditions are serious.
There will usually be between two and seven dust storms each year in Lanzarote, lasting between one and ten days.
Though Lanzarote is known for being exceptionally dry, dust storms can bring on a heavy rainfall immediately afterwards.
If you are planning on island hopping during your time in the area, you can usually tell if it’s going to be raining on the Canary Islands if it is raining in Lanzarote – around 80% of the time.
On the other hand, the odds of seeing rain in Lanzarote are seriously reduced – to only 30% if it’s raining in the Western Canary Islands.
The hottest day ever recorded in Lanzarote is August 6th 1980, when temperatures up to 43.6°C were registered on the island. This temperature was recorded during a calima and is more than 18°C higher than the average for Lanzarote in August.
On the other hand, the coldest day ever recorded in Lanzarote is January 10th 1974, when temperatures as low as 8°C were registered on the island. This temperature was recorded during a particularly cold winter and is 7°C lower than the average for Lanzarote in January.
Despite being known for its dry and arid climate, Lanzarote has received some torrential storms. Across December 1991, Lanzarote received 118.5l/m2 of water, making it the month with the highest amount of rainfall since records began. On the other hand, November 1989 was the month with the lowest monthly rainfall, when Lanzarote received a grand total of 0l/m2 across the month.
The highest number of rainy days ever experienced by Lanzarote in one month is 19 and occurred in January 1996. This January made up part of a particularly wet winter in Lanzarote and saw the island receive 13 more rainy days than the average six.
The maximum number of storm days ever to occur in one month is three and they took place in March 2011. This small number is proof of how uncommon storms are in Lanzarote and when they do materialise, evidence of how short they usually are.
The highest amount of precipitation ever to fall within one day took place on January 25th in 1980 and resulted in 71.55l/m2 – all of which fell within a 24 hour period. Even though most of Lanzarote’s rainfall occurs between January and March, it’s very unusual for such a high amount to fall – especially all in one day.
The worst calima ever to hit Lanzarote in recent times occurred between August 9th and August 11th in 2013. On this weekend, AEMET (the Spanish MET office) issued a yellow alert for high temperatures up to 35°C and estimated that there would be 90 micrograms of dust in the air per metre3. The previous year on March 9th and 10th 2012, the island was also subject to a severe calima which reduced visibility down to 600m.
The worst rainstorm ever to hit Lanzarote in recent times took place between December 9th and December 15th in 2013. For most of this week, Lanzarote was put on yellow alert by AEMET for high rainfall, dangerous coastal conditions and strong winds of up to 80km/h. As you’d expect, this storm caused loads of disruptions to the island, including the closing of the port which stopped numerous boats – including a cruise liner – from docking.
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