The weather in Iceland

Coming to Iceland and wondering what the weather will be like?

Well, here are a few facts, but in short, its very unpredictable.

They do say here that if you don’t like the weather then just wait five minutes. The climate here is actually better than you would think given its name and position just south of the Arctic Circle. This is mainly due to the fact that the gulf stream runs along the south and west coast warming the climate.

In July the average temperature is over 10°C (50°F) with the warmest days being 20°-25°C (68°-77°F) but bear in mind that there are an awful lot of daylight hours in the summer months here, making the summers extremely pleasant. The highest temperatures recorded are about 30°C (86°F) On the other hand and strangely enough, the winters are relatively mild, the average temperature being around 0°C (32°F), although in the highlands the temperature does go down to about -25°C (-13°F). Thunderstorms are very rare here, usually seen in the ash plumes of volcanoes rather than in a storm.

Now the weather has always been important to Icelanders and many a coffee break is spent discussing the weather. Through history, Icelanders lived off the land and fished the seas making the weather important for their survival. They therefore have many sayings connected to the weather and many ways of predicting it...although I’m not sure whether they are to be beleived

Here are a few:
  • If it was a good year for berries then the snow would fall heavily the following winter.
  • If the windows had a lot of condensation on them then it was a sign of rain… although instead it could have been a sign of their porridge being ready and the windows just getting steamy.
  • Another saying is that if your windows cry (again with condensation) then the weather would be good… I´m not putting too much faith in that one maybe.

Of course animals played a major part in predicting the weather and on Icelandic farms, there were many of them.

  • A cat washing behind its right ear would be a sign of good weather. I couldn’t find any information about the left ear.
  • A crazy cat is warning of bad weather.
  • Dogs were no exception, a howling dog meant good sailing weather, obviously very important for the fishermen.

The list is endless, all sorts of creatures were used to forecast the weather, cows, sheep, ptarmigans, starfish and even flies!

Nowadays even with all our technology we can not change it at all. When the icelanders get up in the winter months they have to get up that little bit earlier to scrape all the ice off their windshields and give themselves time to dig out their cars from where the snowplough had driven past earlier and buried them in a pile of snow. And in the case of our recent warm summers remember to invest in some sun cream.

But whatever the weather you are guaranteed to get a taste of almost everything and it might just surprise you that like I mentioned although we live on an island called Iceland its not that cold here.

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Best regards, Jane