‘Belly of the donkey’

Over the years I have tried to give visitors to the island a regular ‘weather report‘. Really it is just an indication of what to expect as nothing is more difficult than summarizing the weather for an area with five micro-climates that in turn depend on dozens of external factors. And yet we make an effort …!

Similarly, over the years, I have seen the various debates about the differences between the weather in the north and south of Tenerife and listened to those who tried to explain that what is being seen is not cloud but a Calima.  Yet rarely does the weather phenomena that the locals call ‘la panza del burro’ in English meaning belly of the donkey get any attention.

These are clouds that form daily particularly in the north of the island. It is well documented that the Canarian archipelago has a unique climate that is determined by the trade winds. These blow in from the north and push low-lying clouds (bruma) up against the mountains, the result la panza del burro. The clouds often bring moist air with them creating what is known as ‘Horizontal Rain’– not rain, in the true sense, but a mist that provides constant moisture for the banana plantations, vineyards and crops that flourish in the north of Tenerife.

November to February are generally the months most affected but even in summer, the clouds brought by the trade winds can sit stubbornly over Puerto de la Cruz making it frequently look grey. This pleases the farmers and horticulturists but perhaps not the tourists who come for the sun. However, every cloud has a silver lining, and this is what makes the north softer and greener.

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