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How do you say “sultry” in Spanish?

August 24, 2009 – 9:01 am

Last week we looked at the hot, dry “terral” wind that blows to the coast from inland Spain. But what about those days when nothing seems to move, when the sky is just a bit overcast and you can feel an almost invisible haze in the air – and it’s hot.

There’s a name for that type of summer weather in Spanish. It’s called “bochorno” and the closest translation I can find is “sultry”.

When the weather turns “bochorno” and the air is heavy and hot, there’s really nothing to do but go inside and turn up the air conditioner if you’re blessed with one. If not, best to lay low. Trying to cut through that hot, sultry air is like trying to swim against a strong current.

There’s another phenomena that often goes along with “bochorno” and that a high altitude breeze that brings fine sand from the Sahara desert across the Straits of Gibraltar and then just allows it to sift down through the atmosphere into the Andalucian air. When this happens then “bochorno” becomes a real problem with dirty air that covers terraces, vehicles and everything else with a sort of muddy film.

Fortunately most days are dry and clear, but now and then this sultry weather rolls in and stays a few days – long enough to make us appreciate the blazing hot sun when the skies are once again blue!

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