When is a fog not as fog? – Answer, when it’s a Calima

This year we seem to have had more than our fair share of calimas. We expect these on a semi-regular basis and those of us who live here don´t mind when temperatures rise a few degrees, particularly in winter as we start to feel chilly when temperatures drop to the low 20s. Those sort of temperatures may sound wonderful to someone on holiday but locals are starting to feel the nip in the air and once November arrives, we begin to dig out our jumpers, boots and even fur trimmed jackets.

Briefly, a calima is a strange weather phenomenon that affects all the Canary Islands.  It generally raises temperatures and brings low visibility from air-borne dust.  The dust is actually sand from the Sahara that is blown over by the wind and because of the direction, the south coast usually experiences the brunt of a calima while the north is relatively protected, possibly because of the mountains.   This satellite image shows us directly in the line of fire.

The calima we had during the last week of June was the worst I’ve seen since moving here and lasted for a whole week.  My friend Linda sent me this picture which she copied from Facebook. It shows the storm rising and starting to head our way.

I took photos in June and was meaning to write about it, but got waylaid, possibly because the heat affected the brain. That particular calima brought exceptionally high temperatures and while we experienced 37 and 38 degrees my Tenerife grandson, Steven was complaining that in Concepción which is further inland it was over 44C.

It got to the point where you broke into a sweat within minutes of getting out of the shower, it affected people’s breathing and in my case my eyes felt full of grit. My little dog, Caña suffers from dry-eye and I had to keep her indoors and treat her eyes with both Optimmune and Lubrithal to stop them from itching.

Every morning on opening our eyes after a virtually sleepless night we were met with the sight of a brown blanket of sand shrouding the usually lovely view from the patio. As the day progressed this haze just got thicker and thicker.


Thankfully most of the calimas this year haven’t been as bad as that, but as I look from my patio this afternoon, the horizon has disappeared – I can´t see Los Cristianos or Las Americas and on checking the thermometer which sits in deep shade it is showing 32C, so it looks as if we are in for ANOTHER one, hopefully it won´t last long and normal weather will return to our little bit of paradise.

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One Response to When is a fog not as fog? – Answer, when it’s a Calima

  1. ceejayblue says:

    I was there the last week of June and experienced the Calima! The first day we got there (22nd) the wind was quite high but still warm but it was just the start! Like you showering was a waste of time, sitting in the pool was so much better! It seemed strange not to see the horizon most of the time and when we did the Teide tour it did spoil it a bit but all in all we still had a great time.

    Love the satellite pic of the Calima and the one of Marrakesh! Nature is amazing!

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