Hungary is a completely landlocked country in central Europe. Surrounded by the Alps and Carpathian Mountains, it is cut off from the moderating influence of the Atlantic Ocean.
It is bordered by Slovakia on the north, Ukraine on the northeast, Romania on the east, Serbia and Croatia on the south, and Austria and Slovenia on the west. Most of the country is low-lying and rather flat, consisting of the broad valleys of the rivers Danube and Tisza.
Only small areas in the north and west, such as the Bakony Forest, rise above 600 m/2,000 ft. There are no great differences of weather and climate within the country. The tables for Budapest and Debrecen show very similar features throughout the year.
Hungary's inland situation gives it a rather extreme type of climate compared with western Europe; there is a considerable difference between summer and winter. Spells of weather tend to persist for longer than in more oceanic climates.
Summers or winters, however, may differ considerably from one year to another. Summer drought or wetness may persist for a whole season, while some winters may be particularly cold and snowy.
Spring and early summer are generally the wetter time of year but much of the rain comes in heavy thundery downpours; in early summer almost one day in three may have a thunderstorm. Daily hours of sunshine in summer are between nine and ten. Much of the time the summer weather is pleasantly warm or even hot.
Winters are in general cold and snow lies on the ground for between thirty and forty days on average - longer in severe winters. Fog is frequent during settled weather in winter. The Danube is often completely frozen over during severe cold spells and floating ice is usually a hazard to navigation from January to March. The severest and most unpleasant winter weather comes when bitterly cold, easterly winds blow from Ukraine.
The transition from winter to summer and vice versa often comes rather quickly so that spring and autumn are not the well-defined seasons of western Europe. There may be abrupt and unpleasant changes of temperature from day to day at these times.
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