In Iraq weather affects the annual cycles like anywhere else. Iraq is generally considered an arid land, but the area does experience four distinct seasons. The winters are rarely very cold, though night time temperatures can be near the freezing point in the winter. Topographical conditions can make inclement weather even more problematic, such as potential sandstorms resulting from windy conditions.
WINTER & SPRING
Winter is the rainy season in Iraq. The lower regions of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers flood extensively, often occurring in the spring as well. Temperatures are much cooler than summer, but snow only occurs in the elevated areas above 2000 feet. In some winter seasons even this does not happen. Weather in Iraq can be on the mild side also. In the predominantly landlocked regions of Iraq weather conditions are generally arid because of a lack of atmospheric moisture due to minimal water access.
Winter also brings critical rains to the nation, as northwesterly winds called shamals often generate intense downpours and occasional sandstorms. These storms are normally in association with Arctic air blasts that Iraq experiences in most winters. Most rainfall is the result of low pressure systems generated over the regional seas. Fronts can drift from the Mediterranean Sea and cover the entire country as they move out to the Indian Ocean or jet northward to the Caspian Sea.
Rains normally last 1-2 days during the winter, raining generally sometimes twice per week. Thunderstorms normally only occur about once per month, as anything that may resemble a monsoon season occurs in the spring. Most intense rainfall comes when a deep Cyprus low centers over the area. Otherwise, rain is usually a short-term common event.
SUMMER & FALL
Rainfall decreases during the summer and fall. Iraq weather is a tale of two halves. In the summer the low pressure systems tend to veer out of the region beforehand, though the northern regions do experience some additional moisture. Moisture is actually the problem in the summer, or a lack of it, as the landlocked nature of the nation and the large amount of territory covered in sand become a deterrent to consistent weather.
The intense heat of the summer is also problematic, as many residents focus on staying cool and hydrated as much possible. Temperatures begin to rise during the spring and by the end of May summer is in full swing, as rain reduces to about 1-3 days per month on the average. Surviving across this heat season is dependent on water supplies and individual protection practices.
The most positive condition of the heat is the fact that the lack of moisture creates less humidity and the air is not as stagnant. Skies are clear very high pressure almost the entire summer season. Winds are actually stronger in the summer season, which also has a comfort and sustainability impact.
Weather in Iraq can hamper many activities, but the patterns are generally predictable and the severity factor is minimal other than the extreme heat experienced during the summer and intense rain in the wet season.