Costa Ricans in the Central Valley are facing chilly temperatures again with the mercury showing 13.9 degrees overnight in Tres Ríos, Cartago, and 17.6 in San José.
Residents further north in the hemisphere can eat their hearts out because these are Celsius readings. The Fahrenheit readings would be 57 degrees in Tres Ríos and 64 degrees in the Central Valley.
But with a little wind, even those semi-balmy readings can send shivers down the spine.
The upside is that the chilly nights are great for sleeping. The downside is that many Costa Ricans do not have homes with windows that can seal and snug doors. Even some downtown restaurants are uninhabitable when the winds blow.
Such changes in temperature mean that the dry season is coming, the time that Costa Ricans call summer.
The Instituto Meteorological Nacional reports that the dry season probably has arrived in the north Pacific coast. That is about a week earlier than normal.
The season will be arriving a few days earlier in all the other regions of the country, too, with the exception of the Caribbean coast which has season reverses from those elsewhere in the nation.
For the Central Valley, the weather institute said the seasonal change is expected between now and Monday. The average date range is Nov. 12 to 21. The central Pacific estimate is from Dec. 12 to Dec. 18, about three days earlier than average. The south Pacific should be in the dry season by New Year’s, said the Institute. The average is from Dec. 27 to Jan. 5.
The dry season is not welcomed universally. Some areas of the county still are experiencing the results of less than average rain, despite September and October downpours. The totals are not yet available for the year, but by August, the Caribbean coast and the northern zone faced rainfall that was from 20 to 60 percent less than normal. The Central Valley was down about 17 percent while the central Pacific coast had 28 percent more than normal, according to the weather institute.
The rain has been variable. In the case of Liberia, the community experienced 50 percent of a month’s rain in a single day. Some 275 millimeters fell that day, some 11 inches, said the institute.
Of course the dry season does not arrive the same way a spigot is turned off. There will be lighter and lighter rains until mid-December. By March, residents will be yearning for a good downpour to wash the streets and gutters.
The wind and chilly nights will have some parents decking out their children as if they were stars in the cartoon series “South Park,” which is set in snowy Colorado. Even some adults will be wearing those Andean-style chullos with the woolen earflaps. In fact, vendors on the downtown San José pedestrian mall will be ready to sell them.