Vardar (Vardarac)

Location: Northern Greece, Macedonia

The vardar is a cold northwesterly wind blowing from the mountains down to the valleys of Macedonia. A type of ravine wind, enhanced by a channelling effect while blowing down through the Moravia-Vardar gap, bringing cold conditions from the north to the Thessaloniki area of Greece. Most frequent during winter, it is blowing in the rear of a depression when atmospheric pressure over eastern Europe is higher than over the Aegean Sea. In general, the vardar is similar to the mistral wind.

A strong vardar event occured on January 12 and 13, 2003. Compare the significant drop in maximum temperature by 17°C (from 19C down to 2C) with the darstic jump in prevailing wind direction from easterly to northerly and northwesterly, and the wind speed and peak gusts during this time period recorded at Thessaloniki.