The climate of France can be divided into three climatic zones - Oceanic, Continental and Mediterranean. The weather is affected by oceanic influences. The North Atlantic Drift on the west and the Mediterranean Sea in the south moderate these oceanic influences. The climate differs significantly between the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts and so do sailing conditions. On the Atlantic side, the climate is temperate and the sailing season lasts from late spring to the autumn. The prevailing winds of summer are northerly, becoming SW when a system of low pressure comes in from the Atlantic. The strongest winds also come from the SW. Winds along the Mediterranean coast and Corsica are more variable, the strongest wind being the mistral, a northerly wind which occurs regularly and often reaches gale force.
Vendavales: The vendavales are strong south-westerly winds which occur in the Strait of Gibraltar and the region off the east coast of Spain. They are associated with advancing depressions of late autumn to early spring; they are usually introduced by, and are liable to be interspersed with, thunderstorms and violent squalls.
Leveche: This is a dry, scorching, sand- and dust-laden wind from between south-east and south-west, peculiar to the south-east coast of Spain between Almeria and Valencia; it extends only a few miles inland, and occurs in front of an advancing depression.
Levantades: Gales from between north-north-east and east-north-east are the most important gales of the east coast of Spain. They are known locally as llevantades, and are an intense form of the llevante or levante, i.e., north-easterly winds of long fetch, as opposed to diurnal coastal breezes. These gales are most frequent and dangerous in spring and autumn (February to May and October to December), and are generally associated with slow-moving depressions crossing the Mediterranean between France and Algeria.
Mistral: A strong northerly wind in the Gulf of Lions and Rhone Valley. The air is usually dry, bringing bright and clear weather with freezing temperatures to the south of France. The Mistral often reaches gale force especially in winter and is capable of raising a heavy sea in a short space of time.
Bora: Occurs along the eastern shore of the Northern Adriatic and is similar in some respects to the Mistral. It is a NE wind occurring chiefly in winter, when it may attain gale force. Violent gusts and squalls, sometimes reaching 100 knots, occur on the eastern side of the Adriatic constituting a danger to shipping, especially as they often set in with little or no warning.
Scirocco: A southerly wind moving eastwards in the Mediterranean, in advance of a low pressure system. It often extends to the Adriatic where it may reach gale force, often accompanied by heavy rain. The local Libyan name for this wind is Ghibli (or Chibli).
Gregale: A strong NE wind of the central and west Mediterranean areas, occurring chiefly during the cold seasons. It may blow continuously up to five days, but usually lasts one or two days, bringing fine or showery weather with some hail.
Fohn: A warm dry wind experienced to leeward of high mountain ridges, such as the Northern Alps and the Andes. Moisture-laden winds are forced to ascend the slopes, thus becoming saturated and undergoing a reduction of temperature at the SALR of about 3°F per 1000 feet. Cloud is formed and heavy precipitation occurs on the windward side. The wind then descends on the leeward side and undergoes an increase of temperature at the DALR of about 5^ ° F. per feet. It blows, therefore, as a warm and very dry wind. On the eastern side of the Canadian Rockies the same type of wind is known as the Chinook.
Marin: This is a strong wind in the Gulf of Lions blowing from a south-easterly direction, and is next in frequency and importance to the mistral in this region. It is generally warm, moist and cloudy, with rain and thick weather, and is associated with depressions which enter the Gulf of Lions from the west or south-west after traversing southern France and northern Spain.
Libeccio: The libeccio is the westerly or south-westerly wind which predominates in northern Corsica all the year round; it frequently raises high seas and may give violent westerly squalls. In summer it is most persistent, but in winter it alternates with the tramontana (north-east or north).
Tramontana: This is a local name for a north-easterly or northerly wind which in winter is prominent on the west coast of Italy and fairly prevalent off the north of Corsica. It is a fresh wind of the fine-weather mistral type, and does not often reach gale force. It is associated with a depression over the Adriatic simultaneously with an anticyclone further west.
Maestro: The maestro is the name given to a north-westerly wind which blows in summer in the Adriatic when pressure is low over the Balkan peninsula. It is a fresh breeze accompanied by fine weather and light clouds.
Meltemi (Etesians): During the summer in the Aegean Sea, the prevailing winds of the main circulation are due chiefly to the deep continental depression centered over the north-west of India. These winds are known as meltemi by the Turks and etesians by the Greeks. They blow from a direction which may be anywhere between north-east and north-west according to the character of the country surrounding the region concerned; meltemi weather is ordinarily fine and clear, the northerly winds tempering the fierce summer heat of the region.
This name is generally understood to apply to dry, dusty and mostly hot
southerly winds in Egypt, and the Red Sea, similar to the dry sirocco
further west. The khamsin is not limited to any single wind direction,
but is associated, rather, with the dryness, the heat and the dust-laden
atmosphere. Khamsin winds blow in front of depressions moving eastward
over the Mediterranean or through northern Africa, and the name is frequently
applied both to the depressions themselves and to the characteristic weather
which accompanies them. They are most frequent in the spring, from February