Gaza Strip: Weather Overview
About Gaza Strip
About Gaza Strip
The Gaza Strip has a hot, dry Mediterranean climate. The dry season is baking while the wet season is warm with cold nights. The areaâs climate is heavily influenced by the arid desert climate of Egypt and the Sinai Peninsula, but also by the Mediterranean Sea. Weather conditions are similar to those found in Egyptâs Mediterranean coastal city of Alexandria, though the Gaza Strip receives higher annual rainfall. There is little regional variation in climate due to its small size and its location. It sits entirely on a coastal plain and as such has little topographical variation; low, rolling hills in the east meet sand dunes towards the coast. The Gaza Strip is a region of conflicted status surrounded by Israel on its north and eastern borders with Egypt to its southwest a long, south-western coast on the Mediterranean Sea. If youâre looking for a beach holiday the Gaza Strip is perfect, if you donât mind risking your life. The bloody and long-winded Palestinian/Israeli dispute over the Gaza Strip continues today and travel to the area should be limited to extreme necessity. Entry into the area is highly restricted.
The dry season, from April till October, is really a long, hot drought. A few millimetres of rain can be expected at the very beginning and end of the season, but from May till September the area is completely dry. The cloudless sky leaves the sun to beat down mercilessly for twelve hours per day from June till August, only reducing slightly in the surrounding months. Temperatures are bearable in the high 20s in May and October but are sent boiling up into the low 30s in the peak months. Night time temperatures are thankfully 10°C cooler around 20°C. However, despite the regionâs aridity, the high heat on the cooler Mediterranean waters can force humidity up to be uncomfortably high. At night humidity is much higher and can get up to ninety per cent. The sea heats up from the low 20s to a peak of around 28°C in August and September. If you have to go to the Gaza Strip then the early months of the dry season are probably the best time to visit in terms of weather due to pleasant temperatures and the landscapeâs benefit from the preceding rain; but it is probably best to arrange to travel around the political climate as gunfire has an even more detrimental effect on sight-seeing and al fresco dining than excessive heat or grey skies. However, these ârecommendedâ months are also the period most likely to see violent sandstorms. Sandstorms cause surface erosion and reduce visibility. They can completely paralyse a countryâs transportation and also sting quite terribly. Especially in the eyes.
In summer the Gaza Strip is much cooler than nearby Taba, just to the south in Egypt on the Gulf of Aqaba, which sees an average high of 39°C in July, due to the moderating effects of the Mediterranean Sea and its slightly more northerly location. However, it sees similar temperatures to Bethlehem which, being much further inland, might be expected to be much hotter in the summer. This can be accounted for by Bethlehemâs elevation as it sits on the Judean Mountains.
The wet season, from November till March, is mild with cold nights and often incredibly windy. Rainfall never gets particularly high, starting to fall in short but heavy storms at the end of the dry season and increasing to a peak of a meagre 120 mm on average in January before easing off again. Storms are brief but intense, often causing flash flooding and being whipped around at immense speeds by the stronger winter wind; the wind can get up to 60 knots and when it isnât raining, most of the time, it can rustle up a few out of season sandstorms. The average high temperature is around 20°C at the beginning and end of the season, cooling to the annual low of 18°C in January. Night times again see 10°C drops in temperature to around 8°C, which is actually rather cold. Wind chill can make this even colder. It can often be hazy or overcast and as a result of the sun only comes out for around seven hours each day. Thatâs still quite a lot of sun if you come from England; London sees two hours of sunshine per day in December.
Again, the Gaza Strip is cooler than nearby Taba due to the huge difference proximity to the equator and Sahara makes at this latitude. It is also still warmer than Bethlehem due to the holy cityâs altitude.
The prevailing winds come to the Gaza Strip from the southwest which is partially why the region is so arid despite its coastal location. The lack of topographical features means there is nothing to prevent these hot, dry winds. This also does little to encourage rainfall. While the region is not a complete desert and does have some arable land, it is largely barren. Sand and hard-baked earth can do little to hold water and so plant life is minimal. This also means a high propensity for flooding.
The Gaza Strip is an area of extreme unrest; it is still occupied by Israel despite claims to the contrary. Muslim fundamentalism is becoming increasingly widespread. Crime and corruption are the norms, fitting comfortably alongside the current trend of kidnapping, torture and all-out massacre. Any travel to the area is ill-advised. This is certainly not a holiday destination. However, the area is clearly in need of help and many still travel to the area for work purposes, be it political, journalistic or humanitarian. Visitors should adhere to the strict conservative laws as stringently as residents for their own safety.