Poland lies in eastern Europe, bounded on the west by Germany, and with a long border with the Czech and Slovak Republics in the south. It has a coastline on the Baltic Sea in the north, and is bounded on the northeast by Lithuania, and on the east by Belarus and Ukraine. Most of the country consists of a low-lying rolling plain below 300 m/1,000 ft but in the south it includes part of the Sudeten Mountains in the west and the higher Carpathian Mountains which rise over 1,800 m/6,000 ft towards the east.
Most of Poland has a very similar climate and the same sequence of weather throughout the year. Winter cold increases towards the east and in the southern mountains, while the coastlands of the Baltic Sea have slightly milder winters and cooler summers (see the table for Gdynia). Precipitation is well distributed around the year with a summer maximum of rain, often heavy and accompanied by thunder. Much of the winter precipitation is snow. Snow covers the ground for an average of forty days each winter in the north and west and for as much as sixty to seventy days in the south and east. Snow lies for up to 100 days a year in the Carpathians and winter sports are possible here. Over most of Poland total annual precipitation is quite low, between 500 mm/20 in and 625 mm/25 in.
Summer temperatures do not differ very much over the country. It rarely gets excessively hot but fine, sunny spells of weather and occasional droughts occur. Winters are distinctly cold and the length of really cold spells varies considerably from year to year. The worst winter weather occurs when strong easterly winds blow and on these occasions the winter cold is similar to that found in Russia. When an anticyclone becomes settled over eastern Europe in winter the cold may be prolonged but it is more bearable as there is little wind chill in the calm air and the weather may be alternately foggy or sunny.
The tables for Poznan and Warsaw illustrate conditions over much of Poland. Those for Kraków and Przemysl are representative of the colder south and east of the country.
Like much of western and central Europe, the weather can be changeable at all times of the year, but winters are most likely to have prolonged spells of one type of weather. Daily sunshine hours average from one to two hours in midwinter to as much as six to seven hours in summer.
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