The dreaded Calima

Recently I tried to explain the weather tourists were seeing on the webcams wasn’t just cloud but a Calima. This isn´t the first time this discussion has taken place on TripAdvisor, earlier this year a visitor insisted the weather was lovely but a hot weather alert was in place for temperatures over 34oC!

I appreciate those sort of temperatures may sound wonderful to holidaymakers wanting to sunbath but care should be taken when outdoors as what may look like a bit of haze on the horizon can be dangerous and they will burn badly.

Briefly, a calima is a strange weather phenomenon when sand and dust filled clouds blow over from North Africa. It affects all the Canary Islands and generally brings high temperatures and low visibility. This satellite image shows us directly in the line of fire.

Earth Observatory – NASA

The southern and eastern areas of Tenerife usually experiences the brunt of a calima while the north is somewhat protected because of the mountains.

Calimas happen on a semi-regular basis but are generally more common in winter December to March, and summer July to September. They can last a day or two, possibly even a week but that is unusual. They can be heavy like the latest one where the landscape was shrouded in a thick yellow fog and temperatures may be excessively high (it was reported that Gran Canaria and La Gomera experience 39.8 degrees). Some are accompanied by strong hot winds and others are light and can almost go unnoticed.

As far as health is concerned if Aemet think it will be a serious one, they will issue a warning. The majority of people will only suffer if they have asthma or are susceptible as the dust can irritate eyes and nose but calimas are not dangerous as long as people are sensible.

Thankfully, most of the calimas this year haven’t been too bad and the worst we suffered here in Chayofa was to lose our view of Los Cristianos and Las Americas.

Check Queenie’s Daily Snippets for Tenerife news & for daily weather updates 
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2 Responses to The dreaded Calima

  1. My sympathies! Having lived and worked on the island for over 20 years, I well remember the misery.

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