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Climate

Mistral wind blowing near Marseille. In the center is the Château d'If
Sisteron – la Baume rock
Forcalquier Cathedral

Most of Provence has a Mediterranean climate, characterised by hot, dry summers, mild winters, little snow, and abundant sunshine. Within Provence there are micro-climates and local variations, ranging from the Alpine climate inland from Nice to the continental climate in the northern Vaucluse. The winds of Provence are an important feature of the climate, particularly the mistral, a cold, dry wind which, especially in the winter, blows down the Rhône Valley to the Bouches-du-Rhône and the Var Departments, and often reaches over one hundred kilometres an hour.

Bouches-du-Rhône

Marseille, in the Bouches-du-Rhône, has an average of 59 days of rain a year, though when it does rain the rain is often torrential; the average annual rainfall is 544.4 mm. It snows an average of 2.3 days a year, and the snow rarely remains long. Marseille has an average of 2835.5 hours of sunshine a year. The average minimum temperature in January is 2.3 °C., and the average maximum temperature in July is 29.3 °C. The mistral blows an average of one hundred days a year.<ref name="infoclimat">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref>

The Var

Toulon and the Department of the Var (which includes St. Tropez and Hyères) have a climate slightly warmer, dryer and sunnier than Nice and the Alpes-Maritime, but also less sheltered from the wind. Toulon has an average of 2899.3 hours of sunshine a year, making it the sunniest city in metropolitan France,<ref>

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{{#invoke:Message box|mbox}} Precipitations a Toulon.</ref> The average maximum daily temperature in August is 29.1 °C., and the average daily minimum temperature in January is 5.8 °C. The average annual rainfall is 665 mm, with the most rain from October to November. Strong winds blow an average of 118 days a year in Toulon, compared with 76 days at Fréjus further east. The strongest Mistral wind recorded in Toulon was 130 kilometres an hour.<ref>Météo-France. site</ref>

Alpes-Maritimes

Nice and the Alpes-Maritimes Department are sheltered by the Alps, and are the most protected part of the Mediterranean coast. The winds in this department are usually gentle, blowing from the sea to the land, though sometimes the Mistral blows strongly from the northwest, or, turned by the mountains, from the east. In 1956 a mistral wind from the northwest reached the speed of 180 kilometres an hour at Nice airport. Sometimes in summer the scirocco brings high temperatures and reddish desert sand from Africa. (See Winds of Provence.)

Rainfall is infrequent – 63 days a year, but can be torrential, particularly in September, when storms and rain are caused by the difference between the colder air inland and the warm Mediterranean water temperature (20–24 degrees C.). The average annual rainfall in Nice is 767 mm, more than in Paris, but concentrated in fewer days.

Snow is extremely rare, usually falling once every ten years. 1956 was a very exceptional year, when 20 centimetres of snow blanketed the coast. In January 1985 the coast between Cannes and Menton received 30 to 40 centimetres of snow. In the mountains, the snow is present from November to May

Nice has an annual average of 2694 hours of sunshine. The average maximum daily temperature in Nice in August is 28 °C., and the average minimum daily temperature in January is 6 °C.<ref>

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{{#invoke:Message box|mbox}} {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref>

Alpes-de-Haute-Provence

The Department of Alpes-de-Haute-Provence has a Mediterranean climate in the lower valleys under one thousand metres in altitude and an alpine climate in the high valleys, such as the valleys of the Blanche, the Haut Verdon and the Ubaye, which are over 2500 metres high. The alpine climate in the higher mountains is moderated by the warmer air from the Mediterranean.

Haute-Provence has unusually high summer temperatures for its altitude and latitude (44 degrees north). The average summer temperature is 22 to 23 °C. at an altitude of 400 metres, and 18 to 19 °C. at the altitude of 1000 metres; and the winter average temperature is 4 to 5 °C. at 400 metres and 0 C. at 1000 metres. The lower valleys have 50 days of freezing temperatures a year, more in the higher valleys. Sometimes the temperatures in the high valleys can reach −30 °C. Because of this combination of high mountains and Mediterreanean air, it is not unusual that the region frequently has some of the lowest winter temperatures and some of the hottest summer temperatures in France.

Rainfall in Haute-Provence is infrequent – 60 to 80 days a year – but can be torrential; 650 to 900 mm. a year in the foothills and plateaus of the southwest, and in the valley of the Ubaye; and 900 to 1500 mm. in the mountains. Most rainfall comes in the autumn, in brief and intense storms; from mid-June to mid-August, rain falls during brief but violent thunderstorms. Thunder can be heard 30 to 40 days a year.

Snow falls in the mountains from November to May, and in midwinter can be found down to altitude of 1000–1200 metres on the shady side of the mountains and 1300 to 1600 metres on the sunny side. Snowfalls are usually fairly light, and melt rapidly.

The Mistral (wind) is a feature of the climate in the western part of the Department, blowing from the north and the northwest, bringing clear and dry weather. The eastern part of the department is more protected from the Mistral. The Marin (wind) comes from the south, bringing warm air, clouds and rain.

Haute-Provence is one of the sunniest regions of France, with an average of between 2550 and 2650 hours of sunshine annually in the north of the department, and 2700 to 2800 hours in the southwest. The clear nights and sunny days cause a sharp difference between nighttime and daytime temperatures. Because of the clear nights, the region is home of important observatories, such as the Observatory of Haute-Provence in Saint-Michel-Observatoire near of Forcalquier.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref>

The Vaucluse

The Vaucluse is the meeting point of three of the four different climatic zones of France; it has a Mediterranean climate in the south, an alpine climate in the northeast, around the mountains of Vaucluse and the massif of the Baronnies; and a continental climate in the northwest. The close proximity of these three different climates tends to moderate all of them, and the Mediterranean climate usually prevails.

Orange in the Vaucluse has 2595 hours of sunshine a year. It rains an average of 80 days a year, for a total of 693.4 mm a year. The maximum average temperature in July is 29.6 °C., and the average minimum temperature in January is 1.3 °C. There are an average of 110 days of strong winds a year.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref>


Provence sections
Intro  Gallery of Provence   History    Extent and geography    Climate    Language and literature    Music    Painters    Film    Parks and gardens in Provence    Cuisine    Wines    Pastis    P\u00e9tanque or boules    Genetics    See also    Sources and references    Bibliography    External links   

Climate
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