What Wind Is So Powerful It Knocks Down Wind Turbines — and Also Makes Cheese?
The Adriatic is famous for a weather phenomena called the bura — and it's especially intense here in Croatia.
The Dalmatia region of Croatia where Brent and I are currently living isn’t just known for originating the Dalmatian dog. It’s also known for something called the bura: furious winds that blow the strongest in winter, when they can reach hurricane-force.
A “bora” is a particular kind of very strong, cold wind. Technically, the bura — the Croatian word for bora — is a katabatic, or “drainage,” wind.
Which probably means as much to you as it did to me.
Basically, this is a type of wind that carries colder, drier, denser air from a higher elevation to a lower elevation where the air is warmer, wetter, and less dense. In other words, it drains it. And sometimes it drains really fast.
Brent and I have now experienced the bura firsthand. And now we’re not surprised that this particular wind has even been known to blow over wind turbines.
Nor that, in 2012 when it coincided with a freak freeze, it managed to coat much of the Croatian coastline in ice.
We were surprised to find out that the bura is even considered essential to make a famous kind of local cheese, Pag Island Cheese. But more on that — and a video of our reaction to tasting the cheese for the first time — in a bit.
Our apartment here in Split is on a hillside, and when the bura first hit last November, it was positively shrieking. At one point, I stepped out onto our balcony and I truly thought my phone would be ripped from my hands by the freezing wind.
Naturally, I had to experience — and photograph — the bura for myself. So one morning, I bundled up and headed down to the Riva — Split’s lovely boardwalk.
I was amazed to see the usually placid harbor filled with whitecaps breaking over the Riva, which is normally more than a meter above the harbor itself. Seagulls whirled wildly about overhead as I struggled not to get blown over.
And, like those aforementioned wind turbines, this tree in the park where Brent and I work out wasn’t any match for the bura either.