Guess the wind: The winds of the Adriatic

The winds in Croatia are divided according to the winds that appear on the Adriatic Sea and the winds that appear on the continental part of Croatia.

On the Croatian Adriatic coast we distinguish three characteristic types of weather:

  • weather of southerly winds, with southerly warm and humid winds called jugo, oštro and lebić
  • weather of northern winds, with northern cold and dry winds called bura, tramontana and levant, coming from the east
  • stable summer weather in which the daily northwest wind maestral changes during the late morning and afternoon and burin during the night.

Each Adriatic wind is special in its own way and can be graphically represented by a wind rose. Tramontana blows from the north, maestral from the northwest, pulenat from the west, lebić from the southwest, oštro from the south, jugo or široko from the southeast, levant from the east and bura from the northeast.

Winds bura and jugo give the main features of the weather in the Adriatic and blow more often in winter (October to April), and maestral blows mostly in summer. Jugo is stronger and more frequent in the southern Adriatic, while the bura blows more in the northern Adriatic. Winter winds are generally more frequent, longer lasting and stronger than in summer.


In the following photo of the wind rose from Marina Frapa we can see how it is shown where which wind is blowing from.

Bura is a very strong, dry and cold wind that blows in gusts and is changeable direction. It comes from the north-northeast direction to the east-northeast direction. It mostly blows during the cold season, but it can also surprise in the summer. Sometimes it can be hurricane-force up to 200 km / h. Waves during bura are irregular short, steep and low (1-2.5 m). A strong bura scatters the tops of the waves into the sea foam, which reduces visibility and creates a danger for sailors because it interferes with breathing. The air temperature can be reduced by 10 degrees Celsius in a very short time. One of the most dangerous features of bura is its sudden appearance. It is strongest around 10 am and from 6 pm to 10 pm. It blows mostly during the cold season, and less often during the summer.

Jugo or široko is a warm and humid wind of uniform speed and steady direction blowing from east-southeast to south-southwest. With jugo come high waves and heavy rain. In the southern part of the Adriatic, wind jugo blows more often and more intensely than in the northern part. It can reach hurricane speeds and usually blows for several days on the high seas. Signs of jugo are a lull at sea, weak changeable winds, a cloudy horizon, an increase in temperature and humidity, and a gradual drop in pressure. The waves from the southeast are getting bigger.

Levant or Levanat is a wind that blows from the east and usually brings cloudy weather with precipitation. It has the characteristics of two winds, jugo and bura. It is cold, which resembles bura, but it does not have sudden gusts like bura, which makes it similar to jugo. It may take several days.

Tramontana is a cold wind like a storm. It blows from the north, and usually brings clear weather with it. Its main features are very fast reaching storm strength on the high seas and the creation of large waves.

Maestral is a wind that all sailors love because it is a constant humid wind of moderate strength which makes it ideal for sailing. It blows from the northwest, and often changes direction during the day. During nice weather it usually blows every day, starts around 8:00 am, is strongest around 2:00 pm and stops around 6:00 pm until sunset.

Pulenat is a short-lived, cold and transient wind. It blows from the west, and it comes suddenly. Pulenat is a dangerous wind of up to 12 Bf. It can cause stronger wavy seas along the western and southwestern coasts of the outer islands. It brings short-lived but abundant rain. After pulenat, the weather improves briefly, and the wind turns south again. It is more common in the cold season than in the warm season. Pulenat with waves from the west raises sea levels sometimes in some ports to a critical upper limit.

Lebić is a stormy wind and blows from the southwest. It often comes after jugo. It brings a lot of rainfall, poor visibility at sea and big waves, especially in winter when they reach storm strength very quickly. In summer it lasts only a few hours, and is more common in the central and southern Adriatic.

Oštro t is a sharply warm and humid south wind characterized by high strength and relatively short duration. It does not raise big waves at sea.