The weather here in Atenas, and many parts of Costa Rica, is very interesting. It is now the "green" season, as they call it (not the "rainy" season). Although it's technically summer in the northern hemisphere, Costa Ricans refer to this as "winter" - because of the weather. December through April is generally referred to here as "summer" because it's the dry time of the year - beautiful weather every day and high tourist season.
The weather pattern during the green season (now) is very predictable. In the morning, it will be sunny and warm, with a few white, puffy clouds. It's very reminiscent of Maui (home). The temperature will get up into the 80s, and if there's a breeze, it's quite comfortable. It looks like this:
After lunch time, you will start to see some clouds gathering and it will get darker. Usually, between 2-3pm, the rain comes and the temperature will drop - maybe 10+ degrees. The rain doesn't start with a sprinkle, then light rain, then heavier rain. It just goes WHOOSH and down it comes. The scenery changes to this:
You know what? A picture really doesn't do it justice. You can't get a feel for how hard it's really raining. Let's try a video:
This rain just POURS! Along with the rain, there is typically a pretty significant thunder and lightning show. The rain can last from a few hours to a good part of the night. We don't really worry about it. Tomorrow morning will be sunny and beautiful. :-)
It's amazing that we can be out for a sunny walk in the morning (as we were today) or swimming in the pool at lunch time, then in the afternoon it's a whole different climate. Thankfully, it's very predictable and we plan our day accordingly. If we are going out anywhere, we do it in the morning and make sure we are back home by 2pm. In the afternoon, we can read, handle emails, blog, do research on the computer, etc.
You would think with the deluge of rain that comes almost every afternoon that everywhere around here would be muddy as all-get-out. It''s not. We have a theory as to why this doesn't happen. It's based on two things:
1) It's all hills around here. The water doesn't "pond" up or stand around; it all runs downhill.
2) They have an excellent drainage/runoff infrastructure. There are sizeable drainage ditches on the sides of almost all the roads that carry the water off to a creek, storm drain, river, etc. Properties also seem to be built with drainage in mind. There is an excellent drainage system here on our apartment complex property, for example. Much of the water is channeled to the street, which has high curbs. The street carries the water down to the "bottom" of the property, where the water is directed into the river (Rio Cajon) that runs through the property.
Most of the water that is left overnight gets dried up by the sun the next day - before the rain starts again. It seems to work quite well and it certainly keeps things green and beautiful.
I'm told that by mid-November, the rains will comes less frequently. By December, the rains will have stopped and the sunny, beautiful weather we now get for a little over half the day will continue all day. I'm looking forward to it!
Posted by Mark.