Climatic characteristics of the Plitvice lakes

The weather and the climatic characteristics of the Plitvice Lakes are conditioned by the location of the Lakes at the mountain pass at 700 to 800m above the sea level, and by about 50 km of air distance from the sea, where mountain ranges placed along the coast are descending into the mild, wavy continental land. The influence of mild Adriatic climate is considerably weakened at that point, and therefore the transitional type of climate between coastal and continental is prevailing. Even if microclimatic conditions are not the same all over the National Park, they still have, due to the relief of the ground, a common characteristic such as pleasant and sunny summer and relatively long, severe and snowrich winter.

Springtime begins late, it is cold and rainy. Sun radiation is in average higher than 1.4 kj cm2, but the average daily temperature is still lower than 8°C. Morning temperature below zero is to be expected in June too.

The average amount of the sun radiation in summer is about 2 kj cm2, the average midday temperature is 24°C, while the highest does not go over 36°C not even in the hottest days. Days with temperature over 30°C are only one or two a month. Sunny weather is prevailing, and there are about ten days in a month without clouds while completely cloudy days are only three or four mornings are fresh. The lowest average temperature is abut 9°C, even in July and August. The wind is weak, except on rainy days, and its direction is mostly southwest. On the average, eight days a month it rains in a form of a shower, abundantly but not for long. The beginning of autumn is very pleasant. In September the daily radiated sun energy is about 1.5 kj cm2, and there are at least five entitely sunny days. Those, without the sun are about seven. The average air temperature is 13°C, 20°C at noon and about 6°C in the mornings, but it could go down as far as zero. Autumn is usually short and changes to winter as soon as November.

November is the most somber month due to a lot of clouds and fog. It is therefore that the sun energy of 0.4 kj cm2 practically does not differ from the one that the earth is receiving in December, when the days are extremely short. The average air temperature is 5°C. There are only one or two bright days in December, while in average, 18 days are completely cloudy. Generally speaking, January is usually the coldest month 3°C on the average, but the lowest temperature was measured in February (-23°C). There are less clouds in these two months, than at the end of the year the days become longer, there is more light and the reception of the sun energy is higher and higher. It could happen that midday air temperature reaches 15°C to 20°C. Snow is prevailing in the winter, while rainfall is a rare phenomenon at that time. Rain falls mostly in November (200mm on the average) and the least in February (about 80mm). The first snow usually falls in November, and the last one at the beginning of April, but it could also fall in May.

It remains on the ground at longest in December, January and February - 20 to 25 days. Its thickness is changeable. There are cases when it falls down and creates a layer of 150cm in only one day (as it happened on 26 March 1962). There is certainly sufficient amount of snow for sledging and for cross - country skiing, but often too much for the traffic. It happens that traffic has to be stopped several times during the winter, owing to a thick and abundant snowfall which makes impossible for winter - services to keep the roads passable. Wet snow and glaze are particularly big trouble for the traffic. Mostly, southeastern wind blows in wintertime, as well as in springtime.