Many people who I meet ask me about the weather in Saudi Arabia and what it’s like. Since Saudi Arabia is a big country, the weather differs from one place to another. There are some mountainous parts that actually get hail storms in the winter season. While others, like my city enjoy a standard GCC weather forecast. This means that it’s mostly very hot and humid in the summer and dry and cold in the winter.
What is the Weather in Saudi Arabia Like?
Basically, we only witness two seasons: summer and winter.
In each season, the weather is so extreme that you just can’t wait for it to end!
For example, in the summer months, the display windows of the shops get covered in condensation caused by extreme humidity levels! The same trend applies to your glasses. They will be covered in fog to the point that you won’t be able to see through the lenses unless you wipe them with a cloth.
Chocolate melts before you can get the pleasure of tasting it, eggs can be cooked in direct sunlight (without the need of an oven or stove!) and the water in non-controlled swimming pools gets too hot for a refreshing swim.
Another reason for this humidity is of course the proximity to the Gulf ocean. Wherever you have beaches, you must get some degree of humidity.
In contrast to the cruel and sticky summer months, we get very cold desert winters.
The winter in the Gulf region is unlike the one in Europe or other continents. Since it’s a desert, we get a harsh type of winter. One with a strong wind, dry cold weather and very scarce rain – like maybe once or twice in a year.
The temperatures might not drop that low in the winter months, but you must always stay protected and wear suitable clothing. Because the cold winter breeze could penetrate your bones and leave you ill for the rest of the season!
I must admit, the winter in Dubai is much warmer than that of my city – Al Khobar. The Dubai winter serves as a respite from the severe summer heat and humidity. It’s a time when the weather in the city is at its best, and we all look forward to Al Fresco dining and finally being able to spend time outdoors..
In Saudi, the winter months are cooler. You do need to cover up (despite us women being covered in an Abaya anyway) properly. The winters in my city were cold enough, that a jacket becomes essential. Sweaters, cardigans or hoodies wouldn’t do the job. So, the need arises for a proper heavy winter jacket. But the challenging part for us women was wearing the jacket under our light fabric Abayas! It was almost impossible to pull that look off and still manage to look cool while out in public! I think during the cold winter months, half of the population looked obese! as if we had all suddenly gained some winter weight or something. It was hilarious and annoying at the same time!
I honestly can’t remember how I ended up solving the Abaya and jacket dilemma. I probably just wore heavy sweaters underneath the Abaya or maybe got myself an Abaya with a heavy material. I will definitely update this post if I remember anything about this!
One thing that will never leave my memory is how we used to wear thick tights under our school uniforms as kids! This was back in the 1980’s (when I was in elementary school) and when the winters in my city used to get extremely cold! Who could imagine that in those days, the winter season demanded that we not only wear thick knitted tights to protect our legs from the desert winter, but that we would even warm up those tights on electric heaters that we had in our homes! I still remember those days very clearly. We would wake up so early to go to school, and the maid (nanny/housekeeper) would place our thick white tights on the heater before we could wear them under our uniforms. That feeling of wearing warm tights was the epitome of bliss and pure joy.
I’m not lying when I say that I used to wear those tights under my jeans and pants too! that’s how cold it was in those days! One pair of pants wasn’t enough to protect us from the cold breeze. We had to wear thermal underwear and tights at all times!
It’s so ironic when you think of how these days, we would be happy just to wear a winter jacket throughout the season. I still have my jackets and coats from my London days – decorating my clothes wardrobe. I would be ecstatic if I got to wear any jacket or coat for at least one day during any given Dubai winter! The problem is, that because I love the winter, I can’t seem to stop myself from buying winter clothes – even if they end up in the closet and never see the day of light.
Global warming is starting to visibly impact our region. This summer’s soaring temperatures and high humidity levels reflect this serious climate change.
Although I might not be warming up any thick tights – or leggings – on an electric heater this Dubai winter, I know that I will definitely be enjoying the cooler weather while writing from my balcony in the evenings and catching up with friends at the city’s cool outdoor venues.