Holiday Weather In Tenerife - Get The Facts Before You Travel
The weather in Tenerife is dominated by the islands mountainous terrain and its close proximity to North Africa. These factors make Tenerife an ideal holiday destination in both summer and winter. Since Tenerife has a sub-tropical climate, the temperature is warm all-year-round at sea-level.
Furthermore, the weather in Tenerife is quite stable throughout the year so you can plan your trip to Tenerife so your arrival matches the weather you want.
The southern parts of Tenerife normally receive less rainfall and is usually warmer during the daytime compared with the northern parts of Tenerife. The southern side of Tenerife has abundant sunshine (even during the winter) since the mountainous inland blocks the passage of rain bearing weather systems from passing into this area.
If you're planning a trip into the mountains, you have expect that this region will be cloudy at times and quite wet. Furthermore, since you're now at a higher altitude you can also expect the temperature to be considerable cooler than at sea-level.
That's why it snows on El Teide since its located just over 3700 metres above-sea-level as shown in the photo.
Weather in Tenerife during the winter months
If you plan to stay near sea-level, you won't find the weather in Tenerife during the winter months cold at any time. Although, it can feel quite cool if the day is cloudy,rainy and windy. The only time you'll feel cold is when you travel up into the mountains since this where most of the rain and snow will occur.
If you plan to see snow in Tenerife during winter, you normally have to travel above 2000 metres above sea-level. Occasionally, when there's a cold burst of air moving in from the north Atlantic, snow levels may drop down to 1600 metres. When this occurs, everyone person gets excited and tries to venture in their car into the mountains which can prove to be dangerous since the roads are choked with traffic.
Weather in Tenerife in December
In most years Tenerife normally doesn't receive much rain during December in the southern coastal areas. You are more likely to see a little bit more rain over the northern coastal parts of Tenerife but again it is not of frequent occurence.
Most of the rain that falls over the northern coastal part of Tenerife is due to low pressure systems that move in from the north-west and these bring isolated thunderstorms. When this occurs, the rain may last 1-2 days before sunshine returns.
Having said that, you're far more likely to see sunshine than cloudy and rainy weather in the coastal areas of Tenerife during December. For this reason, don't worry about whether you're going to have wet weather on your trip. The only location on Tenerife where you may experience prolonged periods of rain is in the mountains over the central and northern inland regions.
The temperatures are still quite warm in the coastal areas of Tenerife during December. Overnight minimum temperatures hover between 16-18°C over both the northern and southern coastal districts. There is a tendency that the night time minimum temperatures will be slightly cooler over the northern coastal areas compared to southern coastal areas but there's really is not much variation. However, the converse is true over the inland regions.
There will be a couple of nights near the beginning of December when the temperature will be a warm 18-19°C but by the end of the month, minimum temperatures of around 14-16°C will be the norm.
The overnight temperature will be considerably colder over the inland mountainous regions above 1000 metres where frosts will begin to become commonplace.
During the day, maximum temperatures of 21-23°C are common over the coastal areas. The warmer maximum temperatures will occur over the southern part of Tenerife but the difference between the northern and southern coastal districts is only about 1°C. There will be the odd cloudy wet day when the maximum temperature won't rise above 17°C. In comparison, there will be 1-2 days near the start of December when the daytime temperature rises as high as 24-26°C. In the mountains above 1000 metres above sea-level, the daytime maximum temperature typically don't rise above 13°C.
December is not usually a windy month at sea-level. There will be some wind along the exposed coastal areas but you'll find that the wind is only gusty if there's rain or a thunderstorm approaching. A majority of the winds will come in from the east and north east but you shouldn't be too worried by the wind or any other weather in tenerife during December.
Weather in Tenerife in January
If you plan to arrive in Tenerife during January you may need to bring some warmer clothing with you since the overnight temperatures range from 14-16°C along the coastal areas. Back in January 2009, many areas of Tenerife experienced unusually cold weather. In fact, many popular tourist locations recorded an average overnight minimum temperature of only 13°C. So don't be taken by the glossy tourism brochures which claim that the coastal parts of Tenerife are never impacted by low temperatures.
During the daytime, maximum temperatures rarely rise above 25°C anywhere on Tenerife (yes even in the warmer south). You're far more likely to see the daytime temperatures however between 20-23°C. Of course, there'll be the odd day when the maximum temperature only rises to about 16°C on the coast. During such times it will be cloudy and mostly likely windy and a little rain which has been brought in by cooler airmasses coming in from the north west. As long as you plan to stay near sea-level you shouldn't experience prolonged periods (more than one week) of cold cloudy weather during your holiday.
Wet weather in Tenerife in January can be problematic on a couple of days at a time since many inland regions are prone to flash flooding. Back in January 2005 and 2006, some parts of Tenerife experienced monthly rainfall totals in excess of 100 mm (4.0 inches) which consequently led to rapid stream rises and washed some inland roads away.
If you're planning to visit Tenerife in January and want to drive around the region by car, then you should stick to the coastal roads if the weather is wet since many inland roads are impassable after rain. As you may or may not know, the rainfall is more frequent and prolonged on the northern side of Tenerife compared to the southern regions of Tenerife.
So why does the rain have a preference for this area? The main reason is this: the northern parts of Tenerife are particularly exposed to the winds that bring the rain. The southern side is located in a rain shadow. Even so, the wettest region of Tenerife is not nearly as wet as it should be given its latitude.
At the other end of the scale, you may find that when you travel to the Canary Islands, that the weather in Tenerife during January is beautiful and sunny, which is more likely the case for most of the time in January. Normally you'll see a lot of sunshine if you stay on the southern coastal parts of Tenerife. If you plan to travel high up into the mountains (> 2000 metres above sea-level), then you'll normally see snow and plenty of sunshine as well.
The main area for cloudy weather in Tenerife in January occurs around the northern inland parts of Tenerife between 500-1400 metres above sea-level which explains why it's frequently overcast at Tenerife North Airport.
Dust storms very rarely impact Tenerife during January but when they do they can cause considerable disruption to operations at local Tenerife airports. The last major dust storm to impact Tenerife in January occurred back on the 10th January 1999. It certainly won't be the last.
Weather in Tenerife in February
The weather in Tenerife in February is still quite cool so you'll need to pack some warm clothing for use at night if you plan to travel here then. The average overnight temperatures during February are pretty much identical to those in January over most areas of Tenerife (except in the highest parts of the mountains) The only difference between the January and February absolute overnight minimum temperatures is that February has less frequent incursions of cold air coming in from the north Atlantic Ocean and so is less likely to be as cold.
I have provided you with a table of temperatures across Tenerife below which clearly shows you this.
As for the daytime temperature, February is slightly warmer than January but there will be the odd day when the maximum temperature reaches 26-27°C. The south and south western coastal regions of Tenerife tend to be at least 1°C warmer than northern and north eastern parts during February since the north east trade winds are slightly stronger than what they were in January. The warmest daytime temperatures will occur when the winds change direction to blow in from the south east. This wind known as the calima brings the occasional thick dust cloud followed by short, sharp heavy rain.
As I've just mentioned, you can expect to see some dust haze/storm sometime during your stay in February (more so from the middle of the month onwards) since the winds occasionally swing around to the south east for short periods of time. It's nearly impossible to predict when a dust storm will arrive in Tenerife since numerous factors contribute to its arrival. The two most common factors are how much rain the desert regions have had in the lead up to the south easterly wind change and whether the atmospheric conditions are conducive to its arrival.
Generally the wet weather in Tenerife during February is not enough to ruin your holiday. You're likely to see very little rain over parts of southern and north eastern coastal Tenerife. So if you happen to arrive when it's raining, then you'll now know to realise it won't more than a couple of days. The highest ever rainfall total recorded at Santa Cruz De Tenerife over a period of a few hours was 116.5 mm due to a severe thunderstorm back on the 7th February 1973. There was widespread flash flooding across the city. Many tourists and locals wondered what the heck happened to their nice and dry Tenerife.
Given that February is still winter time, you'll find that the air is not very humid. The Canary Current that flows to the east of Tenerife plays a significant role in stabilising both the daily temperature and the moisture profile in the lower atmosphere. Together with light north easterly trade winds, the weather in Tenerife remains fairly stable at this time of the year. But occasionally new air masses (Atlantic low pressure system, cold front, or more commonly a calima) make their presence known and it these weather systems that produce the rain and dust.
If you're thinking of travelling up into the mountains you're sure to see some fog and low cloud but it's normally only noticeable on the mountain ranges facing north. If you're staying along the southern coastal parts of Tenerife in February, you probably won't notice the cloud until to begin to head inland. So plan your trip carefully if you drive up into the mountains since there will still be snow and ice lying about at high elevations and many of the minor inland roads are quite dangerous under such conditions.
Weather in Tenerife during the summer months
Seven quick facts you should know:
How much rain does Tenerife receive?
The weather in Tenerife is subject to quite low rainfall totals near the coastline but rainfall becomes more frequent as you travel towards the mountains. Having said that the north easterly trade winds
The good thing is it doesn't rain too frequently. The most likely time when rain can be particularly heavy is during the winter months.
The weather in Tenerife is normally quite dry since it's so close to the arid part of North Africa. Overall, isolated pockets in the northern parts of Tenerife receive up to 800 mm of rain in a year whereas the southern parts has desert-like conditions and is lucky to receive 180 mm a year.
However, there are parts of coastal north eastern Tenerife (like the capital, Santa Cruz de Tenerife) that only receive about 230 mm per year. Most of this rain occurs from November-February in between dust storms.
During the summer months (June, July and August) Santa Cruz de Tenerife doesn't (normally) get any rain. What I should say here is that it hardly rains anywhere on Tenerife during the summer months.
So overall the northern parts of Tenerife (outside of Santa Cruz de Tenerife) have about 65 rainy days per year whereas the southern parts only have around 20 rain days per year. So you needn't worry about whether it's going to be too wet.
Does the weather in Tenerife get really hot at times? Does it ever get cold?
The hottest weather in Tenerife is confined to the southern parts of the island. You'll notice that as you travel down to
the southern beaches it can be up to 1-2°C warmer in the southern parts during the day from October to April. However, you needn't worry since sea-breezes will eventually arrive and cool things down.
The photo above shows beautiful town of Los Christianos. This town is one of the most southerly towns in Tenerife. It also has some great beaches.
For about 80% of the year the weather in Tenerife is dominated by gentle blowing winds coming in from the north east. The locals call this wind (The 'Alisio'). This wind combined with a cool ocean current keep the temperatures almost the same every day. So that means you shouldn't experience prolonged heat wave conditions or UK type winter weather.
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