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From Guaranteed Sunshine to Unexpected Showers: Dubrovnik's Changing Summer Weather Raises Questions and Points to Global Warming

Written by  Jun 11, 2023

The one thing that has always been a constant in Dubrovnik is the summer, or rather the guaranteed sunshine throughout the summer months. In the 25 years that I have lived here the summer has been as constant as the moon rising at night. Temperatures in the mid-thirties, endless blue skies and humidity that feels like the Amazon rainforest.

In fact, the far south of Croatia basically has two seasons, winter and summer, and every year a switch flicks between the two, usually without any warning.

So what has happened this year? We have just had one of the wettest Mays on record! In May this year the rainfall in the wider Dubrovnik region was 193 percent more than throughout the period measured from 1991 to 2020!

Almost three times more of the wet stuff fell than in a normal year. Fact! The Croatian Meteorological and Hydrological Service classified the south of Croatia as “Very Rainy” this May with a score of 93 out of a possible 100 on their rankings.

You've got to feel sorry for the tourists 

“Is it normally this bad at this time of the year?” was a question that I was asked by visitors. Clearly, the answer is no. These poor tourists, who had spent their hard earned cash for a week in the sun, were huddled under umbrellas. My heart bled for them. “So where is the suntan?” is probably something these May tourists heard when they got home.

Dubrovnik is no stranger to rain, just not at this time of the year. In fact, almost a decade ago (yes, I have been writing for a long time) I wrote a column entitled “Which has more rain annually, Dubrovnik or London?” And the answer wasn’t what you would expect.

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This is directly from that article “This fact read, the annual rainfall in Dubrovnik is just over 1200mm whilst the average rainfall in London is a little under 600mm. Happy days! All those years of suffering the mocking and joking from friends and relatives in Dubrovnik that it rains every day in London and in reality the opposite is the case. Not only is the opposite true but there is twice as much rain here every year than in London.” It is true.

Of course, in any normal year this large amount of rain would fall all in about three months. Not in bloody May!

Although on the flip side there is almost double the amount of sunshine hours in Dubrovnik when compared with London. As I said we have no season, it’s either pouring down or bright sunshine. And by the looks of the long-range forecast June doesn’t look like being a month of sunshine either.

Unstable summer on the way for Dubrovnik 

I even researched the height of the summer, August, and although the temperatures are the normal 30 plus there are storms and showers predicted.

Although how the weather forecasters can foresee the weather a full two months ahead of time is beyond me.

So why? Why was May the wettest in the last thirty years? Why has June started with clouds and thunder? You could say coincidence, or just bad luck. It can’t be sunny all the time in Dubrovnik in summer, right? I would say it has nothing to do with luck but much more to do with the way we treat our planet. Global warming has seen some crazy weather conditions and I believe we are just feeling the start of what is to come. You could say it is a much more scientific approach than just luck.

For global warming doesn’t just bring high temperatures but rain as well. “Current climate models indicate that rising temperatures will intensify the Earth’s water cycle, increasing evaporation. Increased evaporation will result in more frequent and intense storms,” and those aren’t my words but the words of NASA. Basically, we only have ourselves to blame. The reason you haven’t got a May suntan is for generations we have been exploiting and mistreating our planet.

“So if you are looking for a break from the Dubrovnik rain might I suggest a long weekend in dry London? If the constant patter of raindrops on your window is getting you down, if trying to avoid the puddles or carrying an umbrella has you pulling your hair out in frustration then, again, may I suggest a short holiday in the capital of England to cheer you up,” that’s another snippet from that decade old article.

Now, where is my umbrella?   

Read more Englishman in Dubrovnik…well, if you really want to


About the author
Mark Thomas (aka Englez u Dubrovniku) is the editor of The Dubrovnik Times. He was born and educated in the UK and moved to live in Dubrovnik in 1998. He works across a whole range of media, from a daily radio show to TV and in print. Thomas is fluent in Croatian and this column is available in Croatia on the website – Dubrovnik Vjesnik


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