The rain in Spain stays mainly on the plain.. or does it!
The weather in Spain is certainly one of the most enviable in Europe but where are you most likely to encounter rainy conditions. Although we all see Spain as mostly dry an arid some areas can receive and average of 600 mm of rainfall a year.
Almeria, home to Europe’s only semi desert barely has around 130 mm of rain a year, the average yearly rainfall in Spain varies hugely. Two extremes where 1,955 mm in 1855, and just 355 mm in 1981, with an average variation of 20% from one year to the next.
Average rainfall in Spain as a whole is around 650 mm with the ‘wet’ part of Spain rising to around 1,000 mm and the semi arid regions getting as little as 300 mm.
In Mediterranean Spain along the coastal areas, rainfall tends to be concentrated in just a few days, and within this sometimes within a few hours. Figures of 100mm in one hour are common.
The record hourly rainfall on Mediterranean coastal towns was a remarkable 878 mm in Xàvia in 1957, followed 30 years later by 817 mm in Oliva (Valencia) on 3rd November 1987, followed by 600 mm in Albuñol (Granada) on 19 October 1973 and 426 mm in Cofrentes (also Valencia) on 20 October 1987.
Another example of heavy rainfall is the 119mm which fell in one hour on 1st July 2003 in the village of Manuel in Valencia.
Inter annual precipitation (rainfall, snow, hail, etc) varies hugely. In 1996 it rained twice as much as during 1990 in most catchment areas. Oddly, one of the wettest villages in Spain is not on the Atlantic coast but in Andalucia. Grazalema in the Sierra de Grazalema which has an average of over 2,000mm of rain annually. The warm, humid winds blow in from the Atlantic which cool and condense as they pass over limestone peaks.
The wettest regions are certainly that of Galicia on the Portuguese border and parts of Navarra in northern Spain.
Average monthly rainfall in MM's in the last 110 years
Average annual rainy days and amount in mm's
Alicante: 37 Days with 336mm of rain
Castellon: 45 Days with 442mm of rain
Girona: 67 Days with 725mm of rian
Valencia: 45 Days with 455mm of rain
Barcelona: 55 Days with 640mm of rain
Reus: 50 Days with 500mm of rain
Ibiza: 45 Days with 430mm of rain
Menorca: 65 Days with 490mm of rain
Mallorca: 50 Days with 425mm of rain
San Sebastian: 140 Days with 1730mm of rain
Bilbao: 125 Days with 1190mm of rain
Madrid: 63 Days with 430mm of rain
Toledo: 55 Days with 355mm of rain
Burgos: 85 Days with 555mm of rain
Almeria: 26 Days with 195mm of rain
Malaga: 43 Days with 520mm of rain
Murcia: 35 Days with 300mm of rain
Seville: 52 Days with 534mm of rain
Granada: 52 Days with 355mm of rain
» Values referenced from the Spanish Meteorological Department
Average monthly rainfall in mm for the big cities