Why is it so cold in Dubrovnik today?

Will the wind blow over Dubrovnik’s ramparts?

Of course not, they won’t blow down the ramparts, they’ll withstand the gusts for centuries. The storm, that cold breeze that relentlessly whips our faces, spreads the gray clouds and the walls then shine in all their beauty.

The Queen of the Winds – Bura

The wind blowing today is called Bora or Bura.
Bora is known as the cold breeze; the storm blows vertically from its perpendicular peaks out to sea. In doing so, it kicks up water dust, reducing visibility. Bora is heralded by a “hat” made of clouds that seem to have taken hold of the peaks of the high coastal mountains – in the northern Adriatic of Velebit, in the south of Mosora and Biokovo.

Dubrovnik under the Bora gusts, photo by V. Jurica Turk

Bora rarely blows for more than three days. When it is local, it can finish blowing in less than 24 hours. It finds its way to the sea through mountain gaps and between the upper massifs, bringing fresh, heavy air. What’s particularly important about a bora is that it blows on gusts and is therefore unpleasant and unpredictable.
Bora sticks to the most extreme epithets because the wind starts to blow suddenly, immediately developing great strength, always blowing in gusts and from a wide range of directions, from north (when it’s related to the tramontane) to south, when it’s already blowing from the near-south quadrant.

The places where the Bora reaches its greatest force are listed in every nautical guide, which you should know before setting out. Fortunately for sailors, especially those who love sailing, the winter bora, with gusts reaching up to 250 km/h (maximum measured at Masleničko ždrilo), also has its milder summer side, far removed from the extremes.

Traffic and bora – you need too much patience

Bora in Dalmatia presents a problem not only for water traffic, but also for air and road traffic. It’s not unusual for many bridges to be closed to traffic, especially trucks. For Dubrovnik airport, Bora is the major problem, as at the time of the gusts, most flights were diverted to other airports on the coast.

The legend of Bora

In his book The Mountains, Croatian writer Petar Zoranic wrote the legend of Bora:

Bora was young and beautiful, but also a haughty girl of noble birth. Because of her pride and arrogance, she refused all suitors. Yet she boasted and admired her beauty and declared on one occasion that she was more beautiful than the immortal fairies themselves. Because of such pride, God thundered at her and cast her into hell. Every time a woman commits the same sin, pride, she sighs bitterly, remembering her once happy life. From her sighs comes a strong, cold wind, a storm.

Palm trees mow down the gusts of Bora, photo credits I. Ivcevic – Bakulic

The drier sleeps while Bora works

Just as with Bora come basic temperatures, traffic problems and extraordinary landscapes. In Dalmatia, when the weather forecast calls for bora, the women let the dryers sleep, because they say there’s no machine that can dry clothes better than bora!