I'm no meteorologist or weather expert, the following notes are made from the experience of living in Le Marche for ten years and daily records kept for three consecutive years. I live at 550 metres (1800 ft.) above sea level so where reference is made to temperatures you can expect villages at higher altitudes to be 1 or 2 degrees cooler and at sea level up to 2 degrees warmer.
BORA. A bitterly cold, squally wind blowing from the mountains of central Europe towards the Mediterranean. Most common in winter bringing cold weather and often snow down the length of the Adriatic coast.
MISTRAL. Blowing from the north or north-west, a cold dry wind originating in the Massif Central of France.
SIROCCO. (in Italian scirocco) A hot wind, sometimes dry but often very humid which blows from the Sahara desert across N. Africa and Italy. Can be quite strong especially in late winter.
More local wind are :-
A dry, cold North wind blowing down over Italy from the Alps.
Gregale (Grecale). Normally in winter. A strong, blustery N.E. wind, sometimes accompanied by showers.
Levanter (levante). A strong easterly wind originating in the Mediterranean.
The first snow falls on the highest peaks of the Sibillini Mountains between mid-October and the end of the month. At least some snow will be visible on the mountains from this time until the end of May and some years well into June. The photo on the right was taken on 2nd Nov. 2004 and shows snow down to a level of around 1000 metres a.s.l. You can see the town of Comunanza in the foreground. (You may click on photos to enlarge).
A sirocco in November and December can cause a layer of cloud due to the mixing of warm and cold air. This layer can occur at very low levels sometimes enveloping villages in a dense mist known as 'nebbia'. It is not unusual to see hilltop villages in the sunshine, apparently on islands in a sea of clouds.
Snow can fall at any time during the winter, gradually falling at lower altitudes as the winter progresses. The snow is usually quite pleasant with a much drier atmosphere than in the British Isles. The winter sun is higher in the sky and you can feel the warmth from it even if the air temperature is quite cold. The snow is usually of short duration - usually four or five days.
It seems to melt away from underneath leaving the top clean and white right to the very end, we never get 'slush'. Although snow chains or special tyres are obligatory in mountain areas during winter, in my experience roads between towns and villages are cleared quite quickly, often before people have to leave for work in the morning. Very little salt or grit is used, the snow is cleared by bulldozer and an hour of sunshine soon melts away any bits remaining.
Spring weather is quite unpredictable, especially April with days of warm sunshine, often with temperatures in the 20's (C°) and days quite cool with rain or drizzle. Night temperatures can be still be quite cold and heating is still required in your home or lodging after sunset.. From a gardeners point of view, spring arrives about a month earlier than in Great Britain. Tender plants such as tomatoes, sweet peppers and half hardy bedding plants can be planted out in early May.
Summers are hot and dry, after a few light showers in May there is very little rain until late September. Some years after very hot weather from mid July to mid August, thunderstorms may occur. These are often quite spectacular with lightening all over the sky. They can be accompanied with a heavy downpour but often occur without rain. A sirocco in summer can lift tons of fine sand from the Sahara high into the atmosphere. When these moist winds reach the Apennines in Italy they are forced upwards, cool rapidly and can precipitate a light rain. As this dries, you can find a fine covering of sand which shows up especially on your car.
Any bad weather at this time of year is usually short lived. Holiday makers (vacationers) from northern Europe will require light skin protection in the form of sun cream or oil in April, May and September as u.v. levels can be quite high. This protection should be increased in June, July and August. Don't let an occasional dull day deceive you at this time of the year, you can still be badly burned especially near the sea.
Autumn is quite beautiful, still plenty of good weather about. The woods colour up well with bright yellows , orange, red and russet brown. Le Marche sunsets can also be quite spectacular at this time of the year
Of course the weather changes every year just like everywhere. You get hot dry summers and then one not so dry, a very bad winter then one not so bad. The following table is based on data collected over a 3 year period 1998 - 2001 and so should give a reasonably fair idea about the weather. The data was collected at 550 metres a.s.l. and this should be taken into account.
|Dec.||13-18||5-10||-4°C||6°C||1.1°C||2°C||13°C||7.2°C||7.32 16 38||1|
Sun. The number of days with clear sky or very slight cloud.
Rain. The number of days that at least some rain fell. During winter months this may have fallen as snow depending on altitude. (Showers at night followed by a sunny day were not counted).
min-low. Maximum and Minimum temperatures were collected every 24 hours. This is the lowest minimum temperature noted over the data collection period.
min-high. The highest minimum temperature over the period.
min-av.. The average of the minimum temperatures collected over the period.
max-low. max-high. and max-av.. The lowest and highest maximum daily temperatures recorded over the period and the average for the month.
Rise-set Times for sunrise and sunset (Central European Time) on the 15th of each month. Daylight hours compared with the British isles are shorter in summer and longer in winter.
Snow. The number of days during the month with snow on the ground at 500 metres a.s.l. (*These figures were for the worst winter recorded - 1998/1999). This is very variable, for instance there were only 8 days with snow on the ground during the winter 2003/2004.
Article and data by A. W. Weaver.
*Since this article was written, the winter 2004/2005 was far worse. See our NEWS ARCHIVES.
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