Islay has a relatively mild climate, being warmed by the waters of the gulf stream and largely sheltered from the open waters of the Atlantic. While snow and frost occur relatively rarely, gale force winds are not uncommon. Like in other parts of western Scotland, the weather can sometimes be very changeable although there are also periods of stable weather. With nothing in between Islay and the east coast of Canada, except the huge Atlantic Ocean, the south-westerly winds are an almost constant factor. Check also the current weather conditions on Islay
Spring is a beautiful time on Islay offering months with, on average, lots of sunshine, often clear skies and sometimes warm days varied with shorter spells of rain. April, May and June are the sunniest and also the driest months of the year on Islay, where May is the sunniest and driest month. Rainfall varies from 100mm in April to 60mm in June. The days are very long with almost 18 hours of daylight in June.
Summers on Islay are not too warm. July and August are on average the warmest months on Islay with a daily maximum average of 16Degr Celsius where as September already cools down and can be compared with June, but with less sunshine. the average rainfall is 77mm in July and gradually becomes around 118mm in September.
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Autumn weather on Islay can be anything from showers and gales with sunshine in between, longer periods of rain, overcast or misty days to crystal clear days when summer is lingering, which is sometimes the case in October. The colours in the autumn are beautiful with all shades of browns and yellows and the skies can be very dramatic. The days are now getting shorter with almost 12 hours of daylight in late September to a little over 7 hours of daylight in late November. The average rainfall increases in the autumn months and is around 130mm in each of the autumn months.
Winter on Islay can sometimes be a depressing period, specially when the island is battered by winter storms, although the average rainfall matches that of late autumn. December and January are the least sunniest months and January is on average the wettest month of the year. The days are short offering not more then 7 hours of daylight. But the winter can also show a different face with crisp skies, frosty mornings and bright skies although these are not too common. Because of the presence of the Atlantic Ocean the temperatures will never reach extremes and therefore the winter temperatures almost never reach freezing point. Snow on Islay is very rare although the mountains can have an occasional white cover, specially the Paps of Jura. Already in February the days are getting longer and the island is already preparing for spring.
A beautiful rainbow in between the autumn showers
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To get an idea of the climate and the average rainfall have a look at the graph below, but keep in mind that these are just averages: