It’s cold, it’s windy, and in some places it’s wet. But it’s still summer.
And while meteorologists maintain that recent weather is normal for this time of year, the number of looming clouds in the Central Valley has kept some people hiding – both inside their rooms and their jackets.
Eduardo Mancia has worked outdoors at the artisan market by the Plaza de la Democracia in San José for 14 years. He enjoys Costa Rica’s warm weather, but the past few days have been trying for him.
“In Latin America, we’re not used to this,” he said about the cold. “I know that Costa Rica is susceptible to extreme weather, but this seems like a rare period.”
In addition to a drop in business due to the economic slump, he has noticed even fewer customers the past several days because the weather is just too cold.
“People come here when the sun is out,” he said with his hands tucked tightly into his coat pockets. “More sun, more customers.”
Mancia thinks that more tourists are doing their souvenir shopping in places like Guanacaste because of warmer days on the Pacific side.
But Eladio Solano, a scientist with the National Meteorological Institute (IMN), said that cold fronts such as this week’s are “nothing abnormal for March.” He added that despite public opinion, there haven’t been more cold fronts this year than in years past.
Solano said that temperatures in San José this year have been near the averages for the season.
Last month, San José experienced an average minimum temperature of 15.9 degrees Celsius and an average maximum temperature of 22.1.
According to the institute’s 12- year average – from January 1996 until December 2007 – San José’s minimum average temperature was 16.5 with a maximum average of 23.3.
The reason for this week’s wave of cold air, he said, is because of a high pressure system that moved in from the north along the Caribbean coast. The system is responsible for forcing clouds and wind into the Central Valley.
The front has passed Costa Rica for Panamá and Solano said that people can start expecting average March temperatures – between 16.9 and 24.5 according to the 12-year average.
He added that precipitation this year has also been around average, despite recent heavy rainfall in the province of Limón.
“The system brought clouds which brought rain,” he said. “Conditions really aren’t any worse this year.”
The 12-year average indicates that February has traditionally been the driest month of the year with an average of three rain days for San José. This February brought two days of rain with an accumulation of 2.4 millimeters to the capital city.
Still, Mancia believes that previous years have brought more sunshine and suspects that humans may be the culprit.
“We’ve been polluting the air with too many things,” he said. “We put a lot of gas and carbon into the air, and that causes a disorderly climate.”
Mancia noted that he looks forward to the day he can start wearing shorts and Tshirts to work again.