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WINDS AND GALES IN STRAIT OF GIBRALTAR
Winds from betwween EN and SE w of strait become East within it and increase in speed towards the narrowest part.
This wind is know as the Levanter.Like the more general Levante, it brings moist air,heavy dews,local cloud,haze and smitimes rain.
The Levante is most frequent from July to October; it may ,however,occur at any time of the year.The strength is normally not more than moderate during the above period,and it is liable to blow in spells of as fitfteen days,exceeding force 3(from 12 to 19 kilometres or 7 to 10 knots per hour) . on only one day in eight.In winter,however,although less frequent,it sometimes blows hard.
The Levanter is occasionally reinforced by the presence of an active depression to the South, and may then intensify suddenly and bring heavy rain and perhaps thunder.
The effects of this wind are especially marked at Gibraltar.When it is fresh or strong, violent eddies are formed in the lee of the "rock",the wind frequently blowing strongly for some time from opposite directions at places only about 50 m apart.
These eddies,with their up and down, and cross currents, are troublesome and dangerous to sailing craft.
In winds of about force 3 or 4, a banner cloud, known locally as the "Levanter cloud" usually streches out from the summit of the "rock" for a mile or more to leeward. This cloud lifts and disapears if the wind exceeds force 6.
A ligh barometer failing and a marked rise of termometer indicate that The Levante is coming and when is already blowing the barometer rise again.
A marked rise of barometer after Levante is blowing minds that is going to disapears the next day, even if is blowing with gusts of hurricane force. After that will come a oposite wind direcction.
Along the coast os Spain, the winds decreasse in force and becoming progressively modified with increasing proximity to the coast, where they are much affected by local topography and by the land and sea breeze effect.
The stronger wind force take place in Tarifa because is the narrowest area of the Strait. In general the winds near the coast are mainly offshore in winter and on shore in summer. Spring and autumn favour the summer conditions rather than winter.
The Poniente or westerly wind also blows in the strait that generate swell from the atlantic ocean arriving to shore forming good waves not so big comparing with others places but enough for Fun or surfing like in the beach of Zahara de los Atunes or Los Lances in Tarifa.
With this wind you can see Africa very well because a very good visibility.
The Poniente blows in any time of the year, is less strong than Levante and completly different to Levante, is wed and decrease with the sunset.
The Vendaval or southwest wind is very strong , it came in winter bringing gale force, rain and bad visibility.
When the after blow Levante in winter the wind veer to Southeast and South and it keep in this point, ligh and misty, we can expect the Vendaval gale.
Windtarifa copyright 1999