From The Madeira Island Web Site

General Recommendations
By Jorge Barbosa
Apr 29, 2007 - 3:21:07 PM

Madeira Weather is very unpredictable, however there are some basic trends one should know:

  • Weather is determined by wind direction.The weather is at its finest when there is a light north easterly wind.
  • Strong winds from any direction except from the east generally bring rain.
  • Strong winds from the east or south east is a hot dry wind from Africa which makes coastal areas humid, hot and dusty with clear skies.
  • Wind from all directions foretells a change in weather. If the air is calm the weather should stay the same.
  • Generally the weather pattern in Madeira is a clear morning becoming cloudy by noon and then the sky clearing again in the afternoon.
  • Climate is pleasant close to the coast but during the winter temperatures may drop to or close to zero in the mountains.
  • Due to the prevailing North Easterly trade winds the south coast is generally warmer and sunnier than the north and the sea is usually calmer on the south coast of the island.
  • The mean annual temperature is about 65F. The mean minimum for the coldest part of the year (October to May inclusive)does not fall below 55F, and the average daily variation of temperature in the same period does not exceed 10F. Madeira thus has a remarkably mild climate, though it lies on the north of the Tropics of Cancer.
  • As the thermometer has never been known to fall as low as 46F in Funchal, frost and snow are there wholly unknown, but snow falls on the mountains once or twice during winter, very seldom, however, below the altitude of 2000ft. Thunderstorms are rare, and scarcely ever violent.
  • On average, rain falls on forty-eight days of the year, ten of which are in November and about five each in the other winter months with the remaining rainy days shared out fairly evenly, although July and August are usually the driest months.
  • Often misty clouds surround the island and the higher regions and even at midday clouds shroud the mountain peaks.

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