Spain’s windiest wind? The Levante
My, how the weather plays its part in the way we live our lives.
There is a memory I have of walking past a series of terraced houses on a street in East London, England. It was around 5pm on a day in Winter, and I was struck by the number of elderly people sitting in their lounges watching ‘the box’. Row after row of houses, and one pensioner after another watching TV at 5pm. The power of the TV! I thought. And I also thought about climate. It wasn’t raining, but it was cold and damp, and it was dark outside. Hardly conditions to motivate people of a certain age to go out for a walk.
Via such ponderings are decisions to move to Spain made, and although I’m finding it harder and harder to give a simple answer to the question Why did you move to Spain?, like most all expats now living here I cite the weather as a shining example (if you’ll excuse the pun).
Look where I am:
At the south west tip of the south of Spain (marked above in red). In the province of Cádiz.
Now, you’ll probably be aware that Spain enjoys a very sunny climate, with hot weather prevalent during the long summer months. You may not know, however, about some of the local variations in weather, and today I’m going to tell you about a wind which blows from time to time in these parts; a wind which blows almost exclusively in this province; a wind called the Levante.
I was told recently by a friend who was born 60 years ago in the province, that this area, and in particular the coastal zone, is not for the faint hearted. He was referring to the power of the Levante wind and its effect on the psyche. He reasons that the coast is not built up in the same way as its famous neighbour the Costa del Sol, because the Levante is frankly very annoying to beach bums! They simply cannot depend on a relaxing sunbathing session because once this wind starts it can really get to you! The blowing sand will sting your body as well as lodge itself uncomfortably in your eyes, and that’s just on a standard Levante day.
My friend wasn’t just referring to the coast either. No, only hardy souls move to Cádiz province he told me.
It’s strange that once the Levante strikes it affects the whole of the province, lasting always, they say, for an odd number of days: 1, 3, 5 or 7. Beyond 7 days is a very rare event, and talking of rare events…
Just two weeks ago – I apologise dear reader for not notifying you at the time – this easterly wind, caused by a climatic ‘funnel’ effect produced in the nearby Straits of Gibraltar, blew with such force that its danger could clearly be felt. Heaven knows its force on the coast but where I am located, quite well inland, its strength was extraordinary. And I can use the word ‘extraordinary’ in this case without hesitation because I asked around and found that the locals had never witnessed such a Levante before.
For 3 long days it blew and blew with gusts in excess of 100 miles per hour, many a pretty roof terrace suffering broken plant pots and uprooted sun umbrellas. Messy.
And then typically, it disappeared just as fast as it had come. The end of the drama, for now.
Jim Porter is a co-founder of Speekee®, the most comprehensive Spanish for kids learning program ever to appear online. Jim’s work includes this homeschool Spanish curriculum and this homeschool Spanish curriculum (not a misprint – he wrote two!) and this Primary School Spanish curriculum.
Jim began his Spanish learning journey in 1990. He has been a language teacher since 1994 and he lives in sunny southern Spain. He has two bilingual children. More…