The Hungarian climate is characterised by its position. Hungary is in the eastern part of Central Europe, roughly equidistant from the Equator and the North Pole, more than 1,000 kilometres (600 mi) from either and about 1,000 kilometres from the Atlantic Ocean. It is also at least 500 kilometres (300 mi) from any main branches of the Mediterranean Sea.
Hungary’s climate is the result of the interaction of two major climate systems – the continental climate and the Oceanic climate. The influence of both these systems are felt across the country at different times, which means, that the weather is very changeable.
Spring is characterized by abundant sunshine and scattered showers. The temperature starts to rise markedly in April, highs usually reach the 25°C mark at the end of the month, though short cold spells with lows in the 0–5°C zone and ground frost may strike even in Mid-May.
In the summer, prolonged heat waves with highs between 32–35°C interchange with short cooler and wet periods following cold fronts from the West with highs between 18–25°C.
Humidity is usually low in the summer, but may rise during more unsettled weather. In the residential suburbs, humidity is generally lower, leading to lower night time temperatures.
In the asphalt jungle of Pest, however, temperatures above 25°C at midnight are not uncommon. Thunderstorms, some of them violent with strong wind gusts and torrential rainfall, are not rare. The highest temperature ever recorded was 40.7°C on July 20, 2007.
Highs can stay above 20°C until the end of October. Nights get colder and the first frost arrives usually in the second week of October. Short cool spells vary with the Indian Summer that can last for several weeks. November brings abundant rain, sometimes snow and a drastic fall in temperature (a 10°C fall throughout the month).
Winters are variable and unpredictable. Westerly winds bring mild oceanic air with highs between 5–10°C, almost no frost and scattered rain or snow showers. Depressions moving in from the Mediterranean Sea can bring snowstorms with 20–40 cm falling in a single day, followed by cold air from Russia. Atlantic depressions and south wind can bring unusually warm weather with highs reaching 15°C even in January. The Siberian high brings most years a sunny but very cold period lasting for a week or two with lows in the −15–20°C range. Anticyclones with centres above Western Europe produce cold inversion fog with no change in day and night time temperatures, they stay around or a bit under 0°C. The fog can last for weeks. Mediterranean depressions moving above the inversion fog layer can bring a day or two of freezing rain.