La Niña Intensifies and Extends the Costa Rica Rainy Season
When La Niña deflects the intertropical convergence zone it rains harder and longer in Costa Rica and 2010 is definitely no exception.
August 2010 was the second wettest on record. September also broke records and tropical storm Nicole finished it off by dropping up to eight inches of rain on regions of the Pacific and Central valley in a few hours. That’s more than San Diego California gets in a normal year.
Longer & Stronger
Otto and other tropical storms are lined up across the Atlantic and headed towards the Caribbean like a freight train all the way from Africa set to deliver one of the rainiest Octobers ever. The president declared a national state of emergency on the first of the month and the Instituto Meteorológico Nacional (IMN) predicts up to 70% more rain than normal saying it’s likely the heavy precipitation will extend through the end November in some parts of the country.
On the Bright Side
Costa Rica is in the tropics and the rain is an expected seasonal phenomenon. The road repair crews have dealt with this before, they’re handling it now and they’ll do it again in the future. The tourist transportation companies know the best alternate routes and even the central Pacific hotels are reporting that it’s business as usual.
Our colleagues in the Arenal office enjoy a huge picture window looking across the lake at the volcano and yesterday they informed us that they had perfect views of the cone at least once every single day in September. The rain clears the skies and volcano viewing is surprisingly good in the wet season. All the whitewater rafting rivers are at their raging best.
The Pacific coastal areas, Mountains, and Central Valley were inundated but the Caribbean enjoyed its normal seasonal respite. September and October are the rainiest months across Costa Rica except in Limón, Cahuita, Puerto Viejo, Manzanillo and the small beach communities in between where these are typically the driest two months of the year.
Intermittent closures of the Guápiles Highway (32) from San José through the mountains of Braulio Carrillo National Park to the Atlantic slope made it difficult to reach the Caribbean beaches at times. The alternate route through Turrialba was also closed for a few days when the Pan American highway was flooded at Tres Ríos east of the capital.