Summer, or the dry season, usually arrives in December and leaves in mid April. The rest of the year is the rainy season. However, this December, we seem a bit confused.
I like the rain so I’m not complaining. It keeps everything lush and green and cools us off in the afternoon. In the rainy season you usually wake up to sunny skies and lovely weather. In the afternoon the clouds gather and it rains for a while, and clears up again in the evening. There are days when it rains a lot, sometimes with very impressive downpours, and other days when it doesn’t rain at all. But if you plan outdoor activities in the morning you’ll usually be fine.
Dry season is just what the name implies. There’s usually no rain at all. The plants suffer from the lack of rain, things turn brown and crispy, and brush fires are possible. Many days are also windy because the trade winds blow at this time of year. If people clear their land by burning it’s very possible for the fires to get out of hand. Thankfully though, this happens enough that there isn’t enough growth to fuel a huge fire, and concrete block houses won’t burn. It also gets hot in the dry season. December and January are ok, February is heating up, and by March and April we are really really looking forward to the return of the cooling rains.
This is just a general description of the weather on the Pacific side of Panama. It’s different on the Caribbean side and rain can come at any time. There is also a greater chance of rain in the mountains near us in the dry season. If you want an interesting but very detailed explanation of why the weather here does what it does, check this link. It’s about Costa Rica but they are right next door so it applies here as well.
Our weather this December has been quite a mixture. There are days of bright sun, blue skies, and wind. There have been other days that are overcast and rainy. There have even been days of clear, windy summer weather in the morning and rain in the afternoon. Today, 22nd of December, it was clear and breezy this morning but now, at 2pm, some very dark gray clouds are moving in so we’ll see what the rest of today holds.
On a totally different subject, I ran across this article about volcanos and tectonic plates in this area. Central America has many volcanoes that spit out gasses, lava, and ash. We are below a large volcano here but thankfully it’s been sleeping for 400+ years and never spits out anything.
After living most of my life where Christmas means snow and cold weather, it was an adjustment to live in Florida, and especially here in Panama. Here it’s warm and sunny, and the beginning of summer vacation for the school kids. Panamanians definitely celebrate the holidays though with lights, decorations, parties, gifts, and lots of fireworks. Summer also tends to be a time of home improvement since you don’t have to worry about the afternoon rains and muddy work sites. When I talk with friends up north though, I am reminded that you all are dealing with the start of the winter season and all that involves. I hope you all are ok, and I’ll be happy to experience it from afar.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you!