Prediction calls for drier than normal rainy season

Instituto Meteorológico Nacional/A.M. Costa Rica Rainfall predictions through December.

Most of Costa Rica will experience a rainy season drier than normal, according to predictions released Tuesday by the Instituto Meteorológico Nacional.

However, the Caribbean will see from 10 to 15 percent more rain for the last six months of the year, said the forecast.

The predictions say that Guanacaste will face a 20 percent decrease from normal rainfall levels. This is the country’s driest area in any season, and a reduction of some 270 millimeters, about 19.6 inches, can mean trouble for cattle ranchers and farmers. This is the area where the predictions say there will be the highest percentage of deviation from the normal rainfall.

The central and south Pacific can expect less rain, too, but the percentages are less. For the central Pacific, the forecasters say some 245 millimeters less rain will fall. That’s about 8.7 inches and 10 percent of the normal amount.

The usually rainy south Pacific will see 5.5 fewer inches of rain, but that is just 5 percent of the normal rainfall.

The forecast calls for a 5 percent reduction in rain in the northern zone, too, about 105 millimeters or 4.1 inches.

The populous Central Valley will be down by about 15 percent, according to the forecasts. That’s 200 millimeters or 7.9 inches of rain.

The U.S. National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center is keeping a close eye on the Pacific. Forecasters there expect to see an increase in El Niño conditions through September. The El Niño phenomenon means that weather in the central Pacific will become slightly warmer. This has dramatic effects all over the world. For Costa Rica, it means drier weather. Costa Rican forecasters usually depend to some extent on U.S. predictions.

From nine to 12 cyclones or hurricanes are expected in the Atlantic during this year year, according to local predictions. There already have been three named storms.

Hurricane forecasters at Colorado State University have increased the number of named storms they expect from in the Atlantic. Now they are saying 13 with five reaching hurricane strength.

There already have been five named storms in the Pacific with Hurricane Emilia heading away from Central America at a slow pace.

Hurricanes are closely related to El Niño conditions. A final hurricane forecast will come from the Colorado university Aug.3.

Costa Rican forecasters noted that last month was the third driest June in the recorded history of Juan Santamaría airport. Typically, the Costa Rican rainy season runs from May until Mid-December. However, July has been unusually dry in the Central Valley while the Pacific coast and northern Costa Rica have seen some strong storms.

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