Romania: Weather Overview
Romania, in the southeast of central Europe, has a transitional climate, experiencing both temperate and continental conditions and receiving all four seasons. Typically, Romania experiences blisteringly hot summers, cool, dry autumns, cold winters with snow and fog, and mild springs. Rainfall levels are usually moderately low all year. The countryâs location and varied topography, notably the Carpathian Mountains, means there is a great deal of regional climatic variation. Rainfall is generally higher in the west and in mountainous regions, while the eastern regions are drier. Western regions also tend to have milder winters.
The Black Sea coast, on which Dobrogea is located, has a temperate climate as the weather is greatly moderated by the Black Sea. Far to the west, the Carpathians stop the majority of oceanic wind on their west sides, forcing precipitation to fall there before passing over to the east side of the country. The area is part of the Romanian or Walachian Plain and is a mainly flat plateau. With little to hinder them, oceanic winds from the northwest, and northeast, and polar winds from the north blow freely across the land. Receiving weather fronts drained of their precipitation by the mountains and in the absence of topological features, this part of Romania is dry and windswept. When rain does fall it does so in the form of violent storms. This is most likely in spring and early summer. Constanta, on the northern part of Romaniaâs coast, receives pleasantly warm summers with a peak of 26°C in July and August, and cool winters with an average low of -3°C in January when the day time high is 4°C. These temperatures are much milder than more westerly regions of Romania.
Eastern Romania, between the Carpathians and the Black Sea, is similar to Drobogea in its flat topography as it too is part of the Romanian Plain. It is also starved of rain by the Carpathians, but far from the Black Sea, its climate is more continental, seeing greater extremes of temperature. Bucharest sees average highs of 29°C in July and August but the temperature actually reaches 35°C quite often and can peak in the low 40s. Aridity means that the area has little insulation and there is usually a great drop in temperature from day to night. The average low in January is -5°C when the average high is 1°C. Frosts are common and while precipitation remains low if it falls it usually snows.
Central Romania, which consists of the Carpathian and Bihor Mountains, receive a temperate climate with a great deal of rain. While the peaks of mountains are snow-capped through the winter and the highest peaks have permafrost, lower elevations receive milder temperatures than might be expected. The mountains block the more extreme continental temperatures from blowing to the west, so winters are warm far the elevation, and summers are cool for the inland location. Sibiu sees an average high temperature of 25°C in August and an average low of -8°C in January. Summers are prone to thunderstorms and winters see light snowfall. Up in the mountains the ski resorts such as Poiana Brasov, Sinaia and Stana de Vale, are open for all of winter and into spring.
Western Romania is wetter than eastern Romania but not as wet as the mountainous regions. It receives a continental climate, spared the extremes of Russiaâs vast Siberian plain to the north by the Carpathians. Temperatures are similar to those in Eastern Romania. Arad sees summer average highs of 28°C in July and August, and winter lows of -5°C in January. It is generally much more overcast due to the abundance of humid air that builds up on this side of the mountains, but still sees a good deal of sunshine in summer months.
It is generally agreed that the best time to visit Romania is in the late spring or early autumn months when the extreme highs of the summer heat are to be avoided. However, many areas, such as the Carpathian region and the coast, do not get too hot in the summer. The Carpathians are actually most popular in the winter when the ski resorts open. The Black Sea resorts are rapidly increasing in popularity and crowds flock to the most popular Mamaia in the peak of the summer, cooled by breezes coming in from the sea.
Great topological diversity, from the flat plateau to rolling foothills to large mountains, and the effects this has on regional climates, has to lead to a high level of biodiversity. Romania's landscape ranges from marshlands around the Danube Delta to grasslands on the plateau and broad-leafed forests hugging the mountains. Human development has done damage to Romaniaâs environment but it still has the largest area of intact forest in Europe, and steps are being taken towards a more sustainable level of growth. The wolf, lynx and brown bear species are success stories of Romaniaâs undisturbed forests; those living in Romania are the only healthy populations left in Europe and account for a large per cent of the total populations in Europe.