For the most part Europe lies in the northern temperate climate zone. Much of far western Europe is classified as a Temperate Oceanic climate, while far southern Europe is a Mediterranean climate in the south. The climate is strongly conditioned by the Gulf Stream, which keeps mild air (for the latitude) over Northwestern Europe in the winter months, especially in Ireland, the UK and coastal Norway. Whilst Western Europe has an oceanic climate, Eastern Europe has a drier, continental climate. Parts of the Central European plains have a hybrid oceanic/continental climate. Four seasons occur in Eastern Europe, while southern Europe experiences distinct wet season and dry seasons, with prevailing hot and dry conditions during the summer months. The heaviest precipitation occurs downwind of water bodies due to the prevailing westerlies, with higher amounts also seen in the Alps. Tornadoes occur within Europe, with most but not all occurrences being weak.
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