Travel advice: Think about weather when planning holidays

Extremes of temperatures can spoil your holiday and cause great discomfort

 

When planning holidays, especially long-haul, it helps to have an idea of the type of weather and climate in your destination. Extremes of temperatures can spoil a holiday and cause great discomfort.

Generally we Irish are always optimistic that the weather will be better than it is likely to be.

Think of the weather as a series of bands around the globe. Around the equator the weather is hot, tropical, frequently wet, stormy and subject to hurricanes. It also has the most fabulous beaches, palm trees and long sunny days.

The next bands either side of the equator are the arid and semi-arid zones where the climate is dry, with little rain and big daily temperature ranges– places like the Sahara desert, western states of the US, the middle of Australia, Middle East and parts of China.

In the middle latitudes the temperature is warmer and humid with hot summers and cool wet winters, such as in southeastern US, continental Europe, south east Asia, South Africa, east and south coast Australia and central South America. Summer can have thunderstorms that pass quickly.

North of that the temperatures begin to get cooler and move into rainy climates and severe winters, though summer can be up to 22 degrees in Canada, Scandinavia and Russia. Beyond that are the Arctic and Antarctic bands and few of us venture there.

There are exceptions to the bands: mountainous regions are colder, islands can be windy and coastal areas subject to flooding.

Checking temperatures, rainfall and historical data is easy to access on websites like accuweather.com, wunderground.com, yr.no, and met.ie for Irish weather.

Get a close-up view of where you plan to go by flying over it using Google Earth. When using Google maps on a smartphone you can choose the terrain or satellite view to better picture your surroundings.

jscales@irishtimes.com

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