Sun, Snow, Wind and Rain, the Change of Seasons on Tenerife

Did you know Tenerife was enchanted? There’s an ancient Guanche mago hidden in some deep ravine in the hills mumbling and muttering incantations that make some people only remember blue skies… even when there were cloudy ones.

It’s the only explanation I can come up with for a mass loss of memory on Tenerife which occurs every single year.

Last week we met up with friends to eat a long lunch at the Mags Café Bistro inside the Tenerife Auditorium in Santa Cruz.

They were staying in Golf del Sur and had unfortunately timed their visit to coincide with a weather front made up of a mass of polar air which brought heavy snow, torrential rain, high winds, hailstones and rough seas to Tenerife and the Canary Islands.

Snowy hills, February, Tenerife

The weather front was short-lived but spectacular, leaving the spine of the mountain and Mount Teide under a blanket of snow. Our friends experienced heavy rain, mini tornadoes and the wind throwing sun loungers around the beach in Golf del Sur, Del Duque and Playa San Juan. They’d also enjoyed a decent amount of sunshine.

A man they’d met in their resort told them the inclement weather was really unusual for this time of year.

Really?

We hear this ‘unusual weather’ claim at this time of year a lot, not usually from Canarios it has to be said. They know their island and its weather patterns and aren’t surprised when the weather does exactly what everyone who knows the weather patterns in the Canary Islands expects it to do.

Storm clouds, March, Tenerife

This is the change of seasons, the period between the middle of February and the end of March when the weather gods battle it out for control of the skies – when winter and spring furiously grapple with each other causing a whole year-full of seasons over the space of a couple of days at some point during the period.

Snow – check.
Torrential rain – check.
Strong winds – check.
Wild seas – check.
Hot calima – check.
Warm and sunny – check.

We act as walking consultants for a UK slow travel specialists and have a Tenerife walking website, subsequently we’ve been recording the weather week in, week out for years.

Wild seas, February, Tenerife

In the same period in 2015 there were weather alerts for strong winds, torrential rain, calima, rough seas and snow. We had to turn back on the Chio road into Teide National Park due to blizzards and snow drifts.

In 2014 it was wild seas, wind, a cold weather front, heavy rain and snow.

2013 saw seriously stormy weather at high altitudes, heavy rain and snow.

In dry 2012 hot calima was the problem, but even in a relatively rainless winter there were strong winds and snow.

And in 2011 it was the usual suspects of wind, monsoon rain, rough seas, heavy snowfall and even hailstones which made Puerto Santiago look as though it had been snowing on the coast.

Caught in a blizzard, March, Tenerife

At some point during this period every year we get similar conditions. These affect all of Tenerife in one way or another.

However, they’re short-lived and most of the rest of the time it’s warm and sunny, so there’s no need for anyone to fret unduly if they’re planning a holiday in that period. Even in the heart of the latest ‘all seasons at once’ there were warm, sunny spells.

It’s impossible to know exactly when it will happen at some point between mid February and the end of March, but it would be an unusual year if it didn’t.

Volleyball on the beach, March, Tenerife

So next time Bill the barman tells you ‘that was really unusual weather for this time of year’ look closely into his eyes, you’ll notice they’ll have glazed over. And if you listen very carefully you might even hear a faint voice uttering strange words you can’t quite make out being carried along on the breeze.

That’s just the Guanche wizard casting a spell known as ‘eterno sol de la mente de expatriados’ (eternal sunshine of the expat mind – that’s one for the movie buffs out there).

 

Jack is co-editor, writer and photographer for BuzzTrips and the Real Tenerife series of travel websites as well as a contributor to online travel sites and travel magazines. Follow Jack on Google+

2 Comments

  1. Funny isn’t it, I experienced a similar set of conditions every year from 1992 – 2008 in Tenerife. In the UK, folks are taken by surprise every year when it rains/snows/has weather. Do you think it may be something in the water here? 🙂

    • 🙂 It is bizarre. What made me laugh here was a headline about the recent snowfall being one of the heaviest this century. That would be the century which has only just entered its 16th year.

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