Weather in Qatar
If you're planning to visit Qatar for the FIFA World Cup 2022, then you will know that for the first time the tournament is scheduled for the Winter. It is considered too hot in Summer in the Gulf region for the tournament to be played-out successfully. As a spectator, and of course for players out in the field, the change in dates should be welcome news. The balmy Winter temperatures in Qatar and, of course, innovative cooling technology in the Stadiums will make the games a joy to watch. Now all you need to complete a perfect World Cup is for your home team to win!
You could be forgiven for thinking that Middle Eastern climates, especially desert regions such as Qatar, involve scorching sunshine all year round. Or, that jumpers, raincoats, and umbrellas are the trappings of countries with more temperamental climates. Whilst it’s true that Qatar’s predominant weather is hot and dry and that annual rainfall is, on average, a mere 75 mm per year, the climate has a lot more variation than you might think.
Qatar’s blistering heat does give way to cooler more pleasant weather in the winter months and some surprising weather anomalies throughout the year. It’s not uncommon to experience heavy rain, stormy weather, lightning strikes, hail storms and temperatures below 10˚C (50˚F). So, if you are planning a trip to Doha, or getting ready to move to Qatar, you may want to consider packing a cardigan or a hoodie and your waterproofs alongside your shorts and flip-flops.
Read on for a low down on the annual weather in Qatar, the best time to visit Doha and what to expect when you arrive.
Qatar is classified as a dry, subtropical desert with intensely hot summers and low rainfall. As Qatar is a small and relatively flat country, there is little variation in the weather from end to end. Coastal areas can be slightly cooler, though Doha city will always be slightly warmer due to the number of buildings and structures, vehicles and people, absorbing and generating heat.
There are two main seasons (extremely hot and sticky and warm to shades of cool) and two transitional periods (both tolerably hot). The Summer in Qatar is quite long-spanning May to October, whereas Winter only lasts from December through February. The transitional periods between them, March to April and November, can be loosely classed as Spring and Autumn.
During the Summer months (May–Oct) the temperature in Doha hovers on average between 35˚C (95oF) and 42˚C (107.6˚F), though lows of between 27-31˚C (81-88˚F) are possible. During the hottest months of July and August temperatures can soar during a heat-wave to an eye-watering, skin blistering 50˚C (122oF) plus. Little or no rainfall falls between June and September.
In November temperatures begin to decrease to more tolerable levels. Average highs of 30˚C (86˚F) and lows of 21˚C (69.8˚F) make the climate much more pleasant.
In Winter (Dec–Feb), the average rainfall is 43.2 mm, with February the wettest month. Temperatures during the Winter cool right down, ranging from average highs of 22-25˚C (72-77˚F) to average lows of 14-16˚C (57-61˚F). January is the coolest month of the season with night-time temperatures falling below 10˚C (50˚F) on occasion.
In March and April temperatures rise steadily, though rains can still occur through March and into April and it can be very windy during these months. March has average temperature highs of 27˚C (81˚F) and lows of 17˚C (63˚F). In April temperatures jump up to average highs of 33˚C (91˚F) and lows of 21˚C (70˚F).
The Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Doha is from November to March; perfect if you are planning ahead to the 2022 World Cup, which runs from November 21st to December 18th. The weather during this period is blissful, despite a few downpours and a few windy days here and there.
Starting in mid-November the temperatures across the country begin to drop, which is a welcome relief for those who stayed in Doha during the hot and sticky months of September and October. With an average temperature of 24˚C (75˚F), November brings the population of Doha outdoors again. By the end of November and the beginning of December, the Corniche - Doha’s waterfront promenade - comes alive with walkers and joggers; city parks throng with kids playing and families picnicking; souqs become hives of activity, and; cafes and restaurants begin to spill out onto the pavements and walkways. During December, the sea cools down to an extremely pleasant 24˚C (75˚F), meaning the many beaches, private and public, are once again the perfect place to relax and take a dip in the ocean.
This is the best time of year to get outdoors in Qatar. There are many outdoor sports and activities to get involved in, 560km of coastline to explore, with some beautiful beaches along the way, and a stunning desert to discover. In Doha city, you can dine al fresco in any number of restaurants and cafes in parks, hotels, souqs, and along boulevards and promenades. There are a myriad of parks to walk, run, cycle, picnic and play in, and at this time of year, hotel pools and beaches offer the perfect place to hang out day and night. You can even time your trip to join in any number of open-air festivals and events held during the winter months.
January and February are the coldest and wettest months of the year in Qatar. The weather is generally mild, though temperatures can drop to chilly, jumper-wearing levels particularly at night. Rainstorms can be heavy at times and catch out those without waterproofs, but generally, rainy days are few and far between and don’t interrupt outdoor activities for too long. Sea temperatures can fall to a chilly 20˚C during the first months of the year, but many hotels offer heated outdoor pools as part of their beach access for customers. So, visiting Doha in the early months of the year is still perfectly viable, though you might get a little wet at times and have travel plans disrupted occasionally.
March and April are particularly windy months of the year in Qatar. Strong winds, dust storms, lightning strikes and heavy rain can be frequent during this time. However, the majority of storms pass through early in the evening and during the night, and, in general, temperatures are still relatively mild compared to the Summer.
Summer months can be a challenge in Qatar due to the scorching temperatures and high humidity. Most expats tend to plan their holidays during June, July and August to escape the oppressive heat. However, visiting Doha during the summer isn’t out of the question, but your trip would need to be tailored to suit the weather extremes. There are plenty of indoor activities to suit every taste and budget. Doha’s many, many Malls each have a myriad of shops, restaurants and cafes, and an array of entertainment options to enjoy. There are Malls with ice-rinks, bowling alleys, cinemas, trampoline parks, theme parks, soft play areas, amusement and gaming arcades, edutainment parks, and even a snow park, as well as regular live entertainment. A plethora of hotels offer day-access to beautiful pools and manicured beaches, as well as mount-watering brunches, afternoon teas and business lunches. Visiting mosques and museums at this time of year also provides a welcome break from the Summer sun and provides an opportunity to learn a little more about Qatar’s history, heritage and culture.
To discover more things to do in Qatar throughout the year, visit the Explore Qatar section of this website.
If you are planning to visit Doha from November to March and would like more information on the weather, activities for the Winter months and what to bring on your travels, read this Winter Weather article.
If you find yourself in Doha during the Summer, read this article on Surviving Summer for more information on staying safe in the heat and the sun.
A number of weather anomalies occur in Qatar throughout the year bringing unsettled weather to the peninsula, read this Unusual Weather article to find out more.
For the daily weather forecast, monthly outlooks, weather warnings and more, in Doha and across Qatar, check out the following websites:
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