Panama seasons are a bit upside down from what we are used to in the north. Summer starts in December and ends in April. It’s the time for hot dry weather, sometimes accompanied by strong winds. Schools are on vacation, people tend to take family vacations, enjoy leisure time swimming in the rivers, and tackle home improvement projects.
We woke up about a week ago to summer. The sky was blue, the air was breezy and dry, and the sun was clear and strong. It’s hard to describe but the overnight change was unmistakable.
Sometimes the trade winds also blow a lot. We woke up during the night to strong winds, trees blowing, and debris clattering across the metal roof. Winds tend to be stronger at higher elevations, and I saw that Volcan Barú is closed entirely because of weather.
Yahoo weather says we have winds of 5-7 mph, but this one looks more like it, reporting gusts up to 50mph. Yes, the wind is still blowing like crazy this afternoon.
I like summer, for a while. You don’t have to worry about rain on Christmas or New Years which is nice because the eve of both are celebrated by many nighttime fireworks and parties with families and friends. I prefer riding my bike in the afternoon and coming home into a strong headwind is a definite workout. You don’t get rained out of late afternoon yard time.
January is OK, but by February the dry season is getting old. You’d better have been watering any sensitive plants because the hot, dry weather is starting to turn everything else brown and crispy. By March it is very hot and brush fires are more and more common as winds easily push flames through the dry vegetation. Thankfully this happens enough that there isn’t an abundance of fuel for fires, and the cement block and metal roof houses won’t burn but it’s still scary if one heads for your property and the smoke is unpleasant. I have learned the reason for keeping your yard clean of leaves and burnable debris! (I hate to even say anything though after the yearly devastation from fires in the western US and Canada).
The rains should start again sometime in mid April and I’m always thankful! I prefer the rainy season when everything is lush and green. People have the impression that we live in gray, gloomy rain throughout the rainy season but this isn’t the case at all. Mornings are sunny and beautiful. Clouds move in in the afternoon. It may rain in the late afternoon and/or early evening, but it stops sometime in the mid to late evening, usually. Some days it doesn’t rain at all, and we may get a heck of a soaking on other days. Occasionally we may be affected by a weather system that causes rain all day but that is very unusual. If you are retired and don’t have to be anywhere at any particular time, the rainy season is excellent. Do your errands and activities in the morning, and then enjoy time at home while watching it rain.
December also has the shortest days of the year. It’s getting dark here now around 6:20 instead of 6:40. 😁 It took me a while to get use to the minimal variation of day length throughout the year. I definitely don’t mind the lack of snow, ice, hurricanes, tornadoes, and other weather related problems that affect so many others. We have an occasional earthquake that does little but shake us and give us something to talk about for a day or two, and the rainy season heavy rains can cause flooding in some areas. Building is forbidden near the river below us for this reason.
I like living in the tropics, the warm weather all year, never a fear of frost. Many find it too hot down here at sea level but there are plenty of other options at higher elevations where it’s cooler, to downright cold in my opinion. And, it’s really beautiful wherever you go!