Heatwave in Gran Canaria!

Well I like to call myself a sun worshipper but sometimes the heat here is overwhelming! Since Gran Canaria is situated off the north coast of Africa, we get a lot of their weather blowing over here and the location is also responsible for other strange weather conditions.

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sunset-calima.jpg
Photo By J.F.Marrero

Calimas and Siroccos

A calima is an oppressively hot, dusty wind which comes across from the Sahara desert. It happens sometimes in winter but usually in the summer. It makes the sky look hazy but it is really a fine layer of dust. Some calimas last a few hours, others days!

A sirocco (no, not the Volkswagen model) is when you have hot, dry winds from Africa coming across. There isn’t any dust but the heat can hit 50ºC.

Vecindario Calima
Photo By Pcesarperez

Take Care in the Sun 

When this happens, there are a few things to bear in mind. Unless you’re used to the heat, you need to make sure you don’t burn and you don’t get dehydrated! Drink plenty of fluids (not sangria!) and stay in the shade between 10am and 2pm. If you are on the beach or by the pool, have frequent dips in the water to cool off. The sky might look overcast when there is a calima but this is just a layer of dust, or fine sand, so you still need to use sun cream with a high factor.

There are some stunning photos of sunny Gran Canaria on here: http://www.isle-of-gran-canaria.com/weblog/category/weather/page/4/ 

Hottest Temperature in Gran Canaria 

The hottest I ever experienced here was in 2003 when it was 50ºC. It actually hit 60ºC for 10 minutes in Playa del Ingles. The swimming pool was hot, the water out the cold tap was hot and I remember sleeping under frozen towels (which thawed out within 10 minutes!)

San Agustin
Photo By Jonaycp

Don’t let these weather conditions put you off though because they only happen a few times through the year and normally only last a day or two. If you are staying in a budget apartment without a fan or air conditioning, you can rent a fan for the week from various places in the shopping centres. Most places have a fan though and you’ll appreciate it!

The best place to spend sirocco time is on Amadores beach or Puerto Rico beach. You might also want to do a fishing trip, dolphin trip or other boat trip, just to get some breeze.

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Right now it is 30ºC in my apartment but it’s surprising how quickly I acclimatise. When it drops to 25ºC I might put my cardigan back on!

6 Comments

  1. Pingback: weather » Blog Archive » Heatwave in Gran Canaria!

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  3. tom kavanagh

    i wasin puerto rico 3 days ago when the calima happenend it got to 33 on january 15 – 17 mentily hot had heat stroke

  4. Tony

    I am a Tour Guide here in Gran Canaria and I am fed up of constantly hearing misleading reports about summer temperatures here,it is always a case of “someone told me” etc.I heard a rep tell his guests it reached 61 degrees here and that it has frequently been 56 degrees.This is nonsense. For the record,the highest temperature ever recorded in Gran Canaria was in 2007 when it reached 50 degrees,at NO TIME did it reach 60,people would have been dying in the street.It would also have made world-wide news as the HIGHEST TEMPERATURE EVER RECORDED IN THE WORLD! For the record the hottest temperature ever recorded is 58 degrees celcius and it was in Libya,please get your facts right before frightening people into niot coming here!

  5. Victoria

    Thanks for your comments, Tony.

    Having lived in Gran Canaria for about 12 years, I am very familiar with the typical temperatures. The lowest I ever saw (not up in the mountains where it’s less) was 13C and the highest was 60C according to one of those clock/temperature machines in the street. It WAS 50C the whole week we had that scirrocco and I remember the swimming pool being hot, the water coming out the cold tap being hot and every shop in Atlantico running out of ACs and fans. It was unbearable but it’s a fact that sometimes you DO get extreme weather in the Canaries. Perhaps the thermometer was busted but the average for that week in question was around 50C for sure.

    Perhaps you remember the week in question – it must’ve been 6 years ago or maybe more. And nowhere in the above post does it say that is typical weather. Of course it isn’t.

    The rep you mentioned who say it is “frequently 56 degrees” obviously doesn’t know what he’s talking about, since it doesn’t often go over 40C, but it can.

    I don’t think the occasional scirrocco or calima, with the accompanying high temperatures and accompanying sand/dust is going to “put people off coming over”. It’s common knowledge that the Canaries are warm islands! And most people will look at weather.com or a live weather report website to see what kind of weather they’re going to expect.

    But yes, we do get calimas and scirroccos on occasion and yes it does get very hot, especially to people who aren’t used to the heat or sun at all. But I also know a lot of people who don’t like it over 25C who come during the winter months instead.

  6. wayne

    I was a rep in Gran Canaria in 2005, and remember the heatwave in that year quite well. It came in September, and the temperature at about 3am on the way home from the airport was 39C (it was on the giant thermometers as we passed by). I had to sleep on my balcony for nearly a week because my room was unbearable (no air con). The thermometers were showing 50+C in the day time, although that may be the heat combined with air pollution and other factors, and I do remember them hitting 53C at one point.

    I had a LOT of guests complaining that it was way too hot for that week, so plan around it if you can. I went on to work in Fuerteventura, Sicily, Bulgaria and Mexico, and never experienced anything like that heat in Gran Canaria.

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