Thursday, November 13, 2008

Moving to Sweden – The Weather

It’s time again for a Moving to Sweden Post. The library of Moving to Sweden posts has been growing slowly. We’ve covered the following topics:
Moving to Sweden – What to Bring
Moving to Sweden – The Swedish Language
Moving to Sweden – Finding a Place to Live
Moving to Sweden – The Metric System and You
Moving to Sweden – Getting a Cell Phone
Moving to Sweden – Getting from the Airport to Stockholm City
Moving to Sweden – Swedish Citizenship Test
Moving to Sweden – Public Holidays
Moving to Sweden – Finding a Job
Moving to Sweden – Culture Shock: It's the Little Things
Moving to Sweden – Making Friends
Moving to Sweden – Cost of Living
Moving to Sweden – The Laundry Room
Moving to Sweden – Marijuana
Moving to Sweden – Most Common Jobs and Salaries

With the weather and daylight changing drastically in Sweden at this time of year I thought this to be an appropriate topic. The following installment will focus on just that. The Swedish weather.

So, Moving to Sweden – The Weather.

Sweden is known for its desire to be lagom. Just right. Not too good, not too bad. Not too hot, not too cold. It’s like the third bowl of porridge that Goldilocks finds.

And when it comes to average temperature in Stockholm it is just that. Not too hot, not too cold. But be forewarned. You will not find tropical heat waves here. It has something to do with being so close to the Arctic Circle. Strangely enough, the closer you get to it, the colder it gets.

That being said, you won’t find those freezing temperatures you might expect. Stockholm has a bit of a special weather because of where it is located. Stockholm is built on a series of islands. It is surrounded by the Baltic Sea as well as Lake Mälaren. It also sits smack dab in the path of the Gulf Stream. This means it has a bit of a milder climate compared to other cities you might find at similar latitudes.

Milder temperatures mean less snow than you might expect. Stockholm gets some snow, but it is not covered in snow throughout the winter like many cities in northern Sweden are. So no, polar bears do not roam the streets of Stockholm during the winter. Sorry to disappoint.

Stockholm is a humid city though. So even though the temperatures might not be as cold as you expected, and there might not be a whole lot of snow on the ground, you’re still going to feel cold. It’s that humid, wet, biting cold that penetrates your flimsy winter coat. There’s a nice little saying here in Sweden: Det finns inget dåligt väder bara dåliga kläder. Basically, there is no bad weather only bad clothing. While you might argue, you will learn quickly that you need good winter clothes to fight back that penetrating winter cold.

Sweden is a country that has four distinct seasons. You will learn to love them all in a special way. The winter because of the hope of snow. The spring because of the hope of warmth and the coming daylight. The summer because of the daylight and warmth. And finally, the fall, because of the last remaining vestiges of daylight before the winter sets in.

You’ll notice that daylight plays a big role in the Swedish seasons despite not necessarily being considered weather. And despite their desire to be lagom, Swedes just can’t control the daylight. So Stockholm is a city of extremes in that sense. Because during the middle of the summer there is official daylight of about 18 hours. And really, it doesn’t ever get completely dark. There tends to be a bit of a haze of light long after the sun has set. The winter is a different story.

It’s dark. Really dark. In the dead of winter you can expect about six hours of daylight. As you watch the sun move across the horizon you’ll notice it never moves too high up in the sky. Once again, this is thanks to the latitude here in Stockholm.

The weather is a great topic of conversation. Especially around the time things start changing. Like the end of daylight savings. That gives you at least a few weeks to discuss how the sudden darkness came as a surprise to you. Despite it happening every winter. Or during that first stretch of rainy summer weather, you can complain about the lack of warm weather and pine for Mallorca. Once you have the weather and daylight figured out you’ll be able to strike up a conversation with just about anyone. You know; if this wasn’t Sweden and people talked to strangers.

Below you’ll find the average highs and lows as well as the average precipitation for each month in Stockholm, Sweden. This comes directly from your friend and mine, weather.com. You can even find some fancy temperature graph from weather.com. And I even put in the metric readings. Because I’m just that kind of guy.

Welcome to Sweden. And the land of lagom temperatures and extreme hours of daylight.

January
Average High: 30ºF (-1°C)
Average Low: 23ºF (-5°C)
Precipitation: 1.50 in. (38.1 mm)

February
Average High: 30ºF (-1°C)
Average Low: 22ºF (-6°C)
Precipitation: 1.10 in. (27.9 mm)

March
Average High: 37ºF (3°C)
Average Low: 27ºF (-3°C)
Precipitation: 1.00 in. (25.4 mm)

April
Average High: 47ºF (8°C)
Average Low: 34ºF (1°C)
Precipitation: 1.20 in. (30.5 mm)

May
Average High: 60ºF (16°C)
Average Low: 43ºF (6°C)
Precipitation: 1.20 in. (30.5 mm)

June
Average High: 69ºF (21°C)
Average Low: 52ºF (11°C)
Precipitation: 1.80 in. (45.7 mm)

July
Average High: 71ºF (22°C)
Average Low: 56ºF (13°C)
Precipitation: 2.80 in. (71.1 mm)

August
Average High: 68ºF (20°C)
Average Low: 54ºF (12°C)
Precipitation: 2.60 in. (66.0 mm)

September
Average High: 59ºF (15°C)
Average Low: 48ºF (9°C)
Precipitation: 2.20 in. (55.9 mm)

October
Average High: 49ºF (9°C)
Average Low: 41ºF (5°C)
Precipitation: 2.00 in. (50.8 mm)

November
Average High: 40ºF (4°C)
Average Low: 33ºF (1°C)
Precipitation: 2.10 in. (53.3 mm)

December
Average High: 34ºF (1°C)
Average Low: 26ºF (-3°C)
Precipitation: 1.80 in. (45.7 mm)



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22 comments:

  1. The most difficult task for me is to walk in Stockholm during these cold days and trying not to freeze nor sweat. I keep opening my jacket and closing it soon. I take off my cap and scarf and put them back. I don't wear gloves yet though. The wind is just so heavy and cold that the talk of 'right kind of clothing' really makes sense :)

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  2. I like your Moving to Sweden series and can always relate a bit from the time I spent there.

    But let's get to the real deal. The next one should be: Moving to Sweden - The Women

    :)

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  3. @smek - thats a huge problem for me too. Especially when I'm late for the traina nd have to run a little bit. Ten Im nice and warm and stuck on a train with a bunch of other people so you have to strip off all of your clothes. and then you're still hot by the time you get to where youre going so you step off the traina nd walk about 100 meters before you realize youre freezing again and need to put your clothes abck on.

    good times. confusing times.

    @jd - someone should probably just do an entire blog on that.

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  4. Have you seen any snö skirts around there? They are the new big thing in Anchorage. A friend of mine is distributing them here... They are made in Sweden.
    This is the Anchorage site
    www.snosmart.com
    -Alaska4Life

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  5. I have not seen those. its quite the idea though. I like it.

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  6. Me too! I love my snö skirt!
    -Alaska4Life

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  7. Im going to be keeping my eye out for these things this winter now.

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  8. that can't be right... Average high 22 degreeds celsius? It GOT to be higher than that. I live on Öland and here the temperatures is definitely higher than that during the summer months. But maybe the difference between Stockholm and öland is that big...Hmmm...Weird..

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  9. well... that's what weather.com says. and actually microsofts weather service says the same thing.

    I've never actually been to öland but borgholms website says the average daily temperature in the month of july is only 16.6 degrees.

    http://www.borgholm.se/index.php?placid=909&template=0&parent=797

    remember though these are all averages. so its taking into account those cold rainy july days as well as the hot sunny ones.

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  10. yeah, that's true.. most of the summers here are really nice and hot and sunny but once in a while you get a shitty and rainy one

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  11. yeah and I think its probably those that hurt that average temp.

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  12. Hello any American Man that might be thinking of moving here because of a woman. (Run Forest run!!) i say, along with many of my other American friends that live here. I could spend hours commenting on this blog and give "the other side of the coin" or the reality side of things....I am an American living here...stuck...is a better word, dont believe the hype of this blog...or at least seek the advice of an actual American living here. There is much more horror here than you can imagine...from the weather to the women...to the system. If i knew then what i know now....

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  13. oh geo... I'm gonig to go ahead and claim my Americanness on this. I think 17 years living in the country, an Amercan passport, a high school diploma, as well as a bachelors degree from a university there gives me that right. I am an actual American living here.

    I write what I experience here. And the Moving to Sweden series is meant to give an idea as to what it takes to actually move here. Not whether you should move here or not. And there is a big difference.

    I must say, I think it interesting that most swedes accuse me of being too negative when it comes to their country, and now I have an American accusing me of not being negative enough.

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  14. As another American (born and raised in NY and then spent five years in NC) I do not see the negatives that Geo has. Ok, so it may be different not talking to strangers (but who needs to know the life story of the guy at the deli?) and the weather can be difficult (but again, NY winters and NC summers are not so great either) and the food can be well, inedible, but Stockholm is such a lovely city, with wonderful people (when you get to know them) and great for us 'ignorant Americans' because we don't actually need to learn a new language. It is a wonderful place to live, and all those differences that can be difficult to deal with are just part of the experience.

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  15. It is a pretty fun place to live.

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  16. the weather sounds WONDERFUL! I'm near the Great Lakes in Ohio... We have much more "extreme" weather than that! (Here it is below freezing for a couple month or two in winter and over 100 degrees for a couple months of summer) Sweden sounds just perfect to me!

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  17. it all depends on where in Sweden you are. But you're right, here in Stockholm it is pretty nice. It's just the darkness that will get you.

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  18. Just wanted to say; I live i Umeå, which is way up north in Sweden. -30 C was normal this winter.

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  19. that sounds pretty rough. the -22 that we saw down here in Stockholm wasnt exactly fun.

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  20. Have there been new laws/regulations passed in Sweden making it more difficult for foreigners to purchase property?
    Danae

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  21. How well is snow removal in Sweden?

    What does it usually take for schools and the city to shut down?

    Have you ever seen schools close for snow OR operate on a 2 hour delay where they still have a full day but 2 hours late?

    *Here in Oregon we call it late start*

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  22. Danae, no idea. I don't have enough money to probably ever have to worry about that.

    And Heablizzard, not sure. Quite a bit I think. Definitely more than it takes in Oregon, from what I remember of my time in Eugene.

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