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Poniente and Levante: much more than two types of wind in Ceuta

The two most characteristic winds in Ceuta and the Strait of Gibraltarare the Poniente and Levante, Westand East winds. The geographical particularities of the area mean that its residents, visitors, and the millions of sailors crossing the Strait are often at the mercy of one or the other. East winds can be a great obstacle for navigation or for spending a nice day at the beach. Both winds alternate their presence during all seasons of the year, although they are felt with greater intensity in autumn and winter.

Our bunkering agency in Ceuta will now explain the main differences in these winds, so characteristic, and with such an important presence in the area’s maritime activity and the city itself, since the beginning of time.

Easterly Wind

The Levante comes from the Western Mediterranean and reaches its maximum speed when crossing the Strait of Gibraltar, a natural funnel that resists the wind. This feature forces it to increase its speed in the area and, consequently, it creates waves that sometimes hinder navigation considerably. It is also a very persistent wind (sometimes blowing for periods of 7 to 10 consecutive days), and with an annual average of 165 days in the Strait. Its average gusts are approximately 40 km/h and its maximum gusts can exceed 120 km/h.

This particular wind is more common between April and October, bringing with it a warm and dry climate (sultry air) and causing high temperatures, especially during the summer months. When this wind blows, staying at the beach can be literally unbearable.

Westerly Wind

The Strait of Gibraltar is characterized by a clear convergence of winds and currents. In this area, the Poniente (West wind) is the opposite of the Levante. It has its origin in the Atlantic and is identifiable due to its humidity and low temperatures. Despite being strong and gusty, it is not particularly persistent (blowing between 6 and 14 hours), with an annual average of 60 days a year. When it starts to blow, a sweatshirt or a light jacket become almost mandatory to contemplate, for example, the area’s stunning sunsets.

The Poniente has one of its longest trails in the Strait of Gibraltar, with an average speed of over 30 km/h and reaching maximum gusts of 90 km/h. It is more common in the months between October and April.

José Salama y CIA S.L CIF: B29901303 Avd. Juan Carlos I Rey 12, 1ºD Melilla, España. Inscrita en el Registro Mercantil de Melilla. Tomo 19, sección 2,ª Folio 95, Hoja 348