Your holiday forecast: hot
As we head into winter’s gloom, it’s natural to dream of blue skies and warm seas — and, happily, this is the perfect time of year for holidaying in the Caribbean. It avoids JJASON — that’s a helpful mnemonic for remembering the months from June to November, when hurricanes are a feature of the area. There are none of those worries from December on, with mostly sunny days and temperatures that reach 25C in Florida and even higher in the Caribbean. There can still be heavy, thundery afternoon showers, though.
It’s good timing for India and Thailand, too. They tend to be very hot, humid and wet during our summer months, but as Asia cools down at this time of year, the moist oceanic flow is replaced by drier winds off the continent, making for long periods of pleasantly warm sunshine.
Rising air across the part of the globe directly under the sun leads to an area of huge thunderstorms through the tropics, known as the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). It moves north of the equator in our summer and south of it in winter. This has consequences for Malaysia, Singapore and the holiday islands in the Indian Ocean, with heavy thunderstorms developing during our autumn and winter months. Expect highs of about 30C in Singapore, and a staggering monthly rainfall of about a foot.
After losing its moisture, the air pulled into the ITCZ descends across a wide area to the north and south, explaining why there are so few rainy days in the Middle East. With the lower sun in the region, it is less stifling than in the summer months, with highs reaching 22C to 25C. However, it can feel surprisingly cool when a north or northwesterly wind brings cold air across from Russia.
For North Africa, the southwards shift of the ITCZ brings dry and pleasantly warm weather, made all the more enjoyable by high sea temperatures. Marrakesh should reach highs of 22C, with seven hours of sunshine a day and about three dry weeks a month. The Canaries should be a little warmer, although showers are likely, despite an average of six hours of sunshine a day.
Our winter is South Africa’s summer, and Johannesburg enjoys hot sunny days broken by some tremendous afternoon thunderstorms. Cape Town tends to be dry and warm, with highs of 26C in October. However, it can become uncomfortably hot when the berg wind blows from the mountainous interior to the coast for a period in February or early March.