Hats are snatched, laundry is ripped off the line, and flags flap and pop. There’s a poltergeist behind these deeds, and it’s the incessant wind which blew 24/7 for much of our time in Dubrovnik.
These constant 20-25 mph winds seemed strange to me, so I investigated a bit, and what I found may surprise you weather watchers out there. Coastal Croatia and this part of the Adriatic has katabatic winds called Bura. I had heard of these chilly winds in Antarctica, but certainly didn’t expect them on the sunny Adriatic.
Katabatic winds originate at high altitudes to the east of Dubrovnik, and carry cold, high density air downhill in response to gravity. And because they flow like water down the mountain slopes, they are also called “drainage winds.” Bura wind speeds can be quite high, and in fact, can reach hurricane strength! This makes me wonder how the nude sunbathers react on Lokrum Island about a half mile offshore.
Dubrovnik’s wind can turn a warm, sunny day into a blustery, cold struggle to stay warm. Because the temperature of the wind decreases at night, the windspeed increases and the gusts get worse. Thanks to the poltergeist, our apartment windows rattled constantly every night.
I’m sure that the residents and tourists welcome the relief in summer, but by the end of our stay, I needed a break. Having said that, my inner geek is happy to have experienced a real katabatic wind without making a trip to Antarctica.
P.S. Recently, we heard from one of our readers in Dubrovnik, Dubrovniklady, and she says – “Today we are experiencing the ‘Bura’ winds, sunny but so cold!”