Could a respite from Costa Rica’s summer rains be coming up?

July 14, 2011

Costa Ricans may have another break from the rain as soon as next week with the arrival of “las canículas,” a short summer in the middle of the rainy season.

While rain stayed away last week in the Central Valley, a further period of drier days could come around July 20 and last from one day to two weeks, according to Juan Diego Naranjo, a meteorologist for the National Meteorological Institute. The “Indian Summer” normally arrives between late July and the first week of August, but differs from year to year, he said.

Several weather phenomena, including the “Veranillo de San Juan,” provide the country with sunny days throughout the rainy season. The Veranillo de San Juan is a climactic phenomenon in which increased atmospheric pressure coming from the Caribbean coast causes a few days with little or no rain in the middle of the rainy season, which runs from May through November. The veranillo can last anywhere from two to five days or more, and typically occurs on or around June 24.

The veranillo is often confused with the canículas, a different phenomenon, Naranjo said. The veranillo could have happened late this year and accounted for the drier days last week, he said.

 Predicting the two events is difficult. “Basically, it’s very irregular,” Naranjo said, referring to the canículas. “It’s very variable. And because of it, this week through the middle of next week will be extremely rainy.”

Some Costa Ricans look forward to days without rain. Cartago resident Viviana Viales said she enjoys the breaks. “I don’t know much about it, but it’s a time when there’s more sun,” she said. “I go to the beach or leave to go do things.”

Don’t expect the sun to be out just yet. The National Meteorological Institute predicts heavy rains throughout the central and north Pacific and Central Valley this weekend.

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