The Rains Have Returned?

Wednesday afternoon April 15th felt a little strange.  Something didn’t feel right.  Maybe it was the cloud formations in combination with the wind patterns but something didn’t feel right climatically.

In Costa Rica it really isn’t difficult to say what the weather will be: rainy or sunny.  What is difficult to predict is when and where it will be one of those two options.  You can travel a few miles down the road and go from sunny and clear to cloudy and rainy.  Sometimes you can look out your window and see (and hear) what appears to be a storm approaching however it may never arrive and just stall out where it is.

Weather patterns don’t enter from the west and exit east.  They just develop and expand for a few hours until their energy runs out.  That’s what made Wednesday afternoon so interesting.  It hasn’t rained in San Ramon since December and the rainy season typically begins sometime in April or May.  It really depends on where you are though in Costa Rica.  Some places it rains the whole year, other places only 9-10 months and some places only 4-5 months.

Rain cloud or normal cloud?
Rain cloud or normal cloud?

That afternoon as I was looking out my window towards the NE I saw the storm cloud.  Was it raining just outside of town?  Or was it just threatening?  Should I take the clothes off the line or risk being caught off guard?  I decided to play it by ear because something didn’t feel right.

I went back to work and after about an hour I heard the slight “tac—tac—tac—tac” noise that the rain makes when it hits the metal roof sheeting.  I jumped out of my chair and went into the backyard to confirm my suspicions.  Yes the clothes were being sprinkled on by big cool drops of rain, totally refreshing on this 80 degree day.  A few minutes later the “tac-tacs” on the roof would increase to a full blown snare drum so loud that you would have to yell to have a normal conversation.  For instance, imagine you are watching TV in your room and your mom comes in and starts vacuuming.  If you are lucky and have a two story house you can escape the madness by hanging out on the ground floor until symphony subsides.

Now some people may dread the idea that it is going to rain for the next 8 months but with so many droughts all over the world this is really a great blessing.  Everything in and around San Ramon has turned to a dirty, brown color and the wind has howled up numerous clouds of dust making it impossible to keep anything clean for more than a few hours.

That afternoon it rained for about an hour.  As I write this two days later it hasn’t rained since then and I haven’t felt the indescribable sensation that it might rain.  Maybe it is

Ready for the rain
Ready for the rain

something that you pick up unconsciously after living here for awhile.

I do know that the transition will be happening soon and I am looking forward to the greening pastures and the reduction of dust in my lungs.  I’m also hopeful the rains will allow Costa Rica to keep its streak of producing all its electricity renewably.

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