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Climate - Istanbul

Temperature, rainfall, prevailing weather conditions, when to go

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Istanbul, where it is
The climate of Istanbul, the largest city of Turkey, can be defined transitional Mediterranean, given that it has fairly cold winters, but otherwise it has Mediterranean characteristics: the rainy seasons are autumn and winter, and summer is hot and sunny.
Here are the average temperatures.
Istanbul average temperatures
Istanbul J F M A M J J A S O N D
Min (°C) 3 2 3 7 12 16 18 19 16 13 9 5
Max (°C) 8 9 11 16 21 25 28 28 24 20 15 11

In a year, about 820 millimetres of rain fall; the wettest months are December, January and February.
Here is the average precipitation.
Average precipitation - Istanbul
Istanbul J F M A M J J A S O N D Year
Prec. (mm) 110 90 70 45 40 35 35 30 60 80 105 120 820
Days 12 11 10 6 5 4 3 2 5 8 11 13 90

Winter, from December to March, is quite cold: the average temperature in January and February is 5.5 °C. In winter, mild periods alternate with cold periods, in which the temperature is a few degrees above freezing, and a cold rain or even snow can fall. In fact, snowfalls are not so rare, and occur more than once almost every year, accompanied by frost, usually not intense. This chance of cold and snowfall is due to the proximity of the Balkan Peninsula, which in winter cools a lot, because it is affected by air masses from Russia. March is quite cold, and is often still a wintery month.

Spring, in April and May, is mild, and sunny days become quickly more frequent, while the rains become rarer. However, in April it can still be cold, and there may be sudden changes in temperature, especially in the first half of the month.

Summer, from June to August, is hot and sunny, and also quite sultry; the heat is felt especially within the city, while a relieving breeze blows from the sea. The average temperature in August, which is albeit slightly the warmest month, is 23.5 °C. However, during the warmest months, July and August, and more rarely in June, sometimes the temperature can reach 35/37 °C. The sky is mostly clear, although we can not exclude some downpours or thunderstorms, generally not intense.

Autumn, from September to November, is initially warm and often sunny in September, but weather fronts of Atlantic origin gradually become more frequent, so that there are on average 5 days with rain in September, 8 in October and 11 in November.

The amount of sunshine in Istanbul is scarce in winter, when cloudy skies prevail, while it is very good in summer, when sunshine prevails.

The sea in Istanbul, very cold in winter, becomes warm enough for swimming in July and August, while it is still very cool in June, about 20 °C, and all in all it's still acceptable in September, when it's about 22 °C, as can be seen in the following table.
Sea temperature - Istanbul
Istanbul J F M A M J J A S O N D
Sea (°C) 9 8 8 10 15 20 23 24 22 19 14 11


When to go

The best times to visit Istanbul are spring and autumn, in particular the months of May, June and September. September is an interesting month, especially in the first half, usually sweet and with little rain, and the sea is still warm enough. In July and August, at certain times the heat is acceptable, while at others it can be intense.

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