Weather Outlook in Greece
When sailors search for the ideal cruising waters they inevitable think of Greece. The general weather situation in the Greek seas is usually established by the early summer and is characterized by brilliant sunshine and very little rainfall.
The winds do vary considerably in direction, strength and even duration in the period from April to October when the great majority of yachtsmen are at sea. In general winds are calm in the morning and always pick up by midday. The local wind known as Meltemi blows from the North and results from a high pressure system laying over the Balkan area and relatively low pressure over Turkey.
During most of the summer, the northern Ionian is affected by the Maistros, a light to moderate North West wind which rises in the afternoon and usually dies at sunset. Also at times westerly winds from moderate to strong occur in the sea to the west and south of Peloponnese. Very occasionally, the Sirocco or hot south wind blows in this area and although unpleasant, it is usually of short duration.
In the north, it is mainly sheltered from the prevailing northerly winds by land masses. In the early summer it is often calm, particular at night, or has light winds from a generally southerly direction. From July until late summer the Meltemi predominates throughout the area with moderate winds ranging from 10-20 knots.
The central sea area covers most of the Aegean from north to south including the Cyclades and the Sporades. Throughout the summer the prevailing wind is North East (NE) in the North Aegean and North West (NW) in the South Aegean.
The Meltemi is lighter in May and June, strongest in August and September but dies away in the autumn. It is not a cold wind, but it may blow out of a sunny sky for three or four days at a time, reaching 25-35 knots. Often the wind dies down soon after nightfall and returns at dawn.
The Dodecanese islands are affected by the Meltemi particularly in the North, during the summer months winds are moderate and less in strength than the Cyclades. Weather forecasts for the various zones are broadcast from Athens radio with special warnings daily.