It’s almost April and that means getting ready for the rains that traditionally start by mid-May. However, for this 2019, the “rainy season” will arrive “late and uneven” for the Central Valley, Guanacaste and Zona Norte (northern region).
Also, temperatures this year are expected to be between 0.5 and 1 degree Celis above normal average.
That is the word from the Instituto Meteorológico Nacional (IMN) – national weather service – on the atmospheric changes arising in response to the warming of the waters of the Tropical Pacific Ocean caused by the El Niño phenomenon.
“There are going to be heavy showers, they can even be intense, that will generate emergency situations, but they will be concentrated over a few days,” said Juan Carlos Fallas, director of the IMN.
With respect to the arrival of the rainy season, the most critical situation could occur in the North Pacific (from the city of Puntarenas to La Cruz) as well as in the area of Los Chiles, Upala and Guatuso, because this dry season has been stronger and will delay the rains for about 10 days.
Normal for the above areas is that it rains start from May 21, but this year the rains won’t arrive until the 31st at the earliest.
In the Central Valley, the delay will be one week. It is expected that in the most populated in the country, the rainy season will start from May 16 to 20, although it usually does on May 11.
The area that will not have variations with the arrival of the rains is the South Pacific (Osa, Golfito, Corredores, San Vito). In fact, already in the border region with Panama, there have been some downpours typical of the transition stage, since it is the first to receive the rainy season between April 1 and 5.
In April, the thermometer is expected to reach 40 degrees Celsius in Nicoya, Liberia and other hot spots in Guanacaste.
The National Emergency Commission (CNE) has already informed the 90 emergency municipal committees and the 400 communal committees on the effects of the El Niño phenomenon.
That entity has 650 radio stations located throughout the country, for alerts on any eventuality.
The IMN warns that for the months of July and August when the period of “caniculas” (dog days) usually occur, there will be a no or a decrease in the rains in the entire Pacific coast, as well as in the Central Valley and Guanacaste.
The caniculas manifests as a decrease in the quantity and intensity, or, a total suspension of the rains that can last from 5 to 15 days; where there is also an increase in temperatures and trade winds.
In ancient times, people associated the heat during this period with the concurrent rising of Sirius, nicknamed “the dog star.” The phrase is a translation of the Latin “dies caniculares” or “dog days.”
However, and contrary to the Pacific, in July of this year, more rains are expected in the Caribbean, and possible flooding during that month, which is one of the rainiest months in Limón.
“In July and August we will have a contrast, the rainy Caribbean and the dry Pacific,” said Juan Carlos Fallas.
The executive president of the CNE, Alexánder Solís, said that since October of last year they began preparing to face the impacts of El Niño in sectors such as agriculture, tourism, health, and water supply.
According to the CNE, as of Monday (March 24), there are 33 counties with problems due to lack of potable water, affecting more than one million people.
To deal with the situation, the CNE is counting on the water cistern trucks of the Costa Rican Institute of Aqueducts and Sewers (AyA), a program that began two months ago in the Caribbean, because that region had between the months of December and February the greatest historical drought since 1947.
In Guanacaste, the National Irrigation and Drainage Service (Senara), though works such as those that had already been developed in the previous El Niño phenomenon (2014 – 2015), is working with the AyA to strengthen water distribution systems in areas such as Abangares and Carrillo.
“We are making progress in the drilling of 28 wells that will also be under the responsibility of the AyA. They are wells that were already authorized and have the corresponding hydrobiological studies. What remains is the contracting,” said Solis.