El Niño predicted to begin losing strength in February

El Niño that has brought record drought to western Costa Rica is expected to begin to diminish by February. The Instituto Meteorológico Nacional issued a summary of El Niño’s impact and also predictions Monday.

From January to November there was a lack of rain on the Pacific coast, the Central Valley and the northern cantons of  Guatuso, Los Chiles and Upala with the north Pacific being the worst affected with 37 percent less rain than normal, said the institute.

On the other side of the country, the Caribbean coast and the northern zone received 44 percent more rain than average, said the institute. That includes rain that provoked extensive flooding in northeastern Costa Rica.

The current El Niño is among the three strongest in 50 years, the institute pointed out, and it is being blamed for the unusual distribution of rain.

The weather station at Daniel Oduber airport in Liberia registered a record drought this year with rain being 58 percent below average, said the report. The Central Valley saw the second driest year since 1900, and Limón saw the second wettest season on record, the institute reported.

In San José Dec. 2 saw the highest recorded temperature for the month with 30.8 degrees C, some 0.6 of a degree warmer than the previous December record set in 1888, the report said. That temperature was 87.44 degrees F.

The prediction for the next three months is more drought in the Pacific coast, particularly in January and February, said the institute.

The Central Valley is expected to get a bit more rain when Caribbean storms find their way over the mountains.

Typical at this time of year, the country west of the Caribbean mountains experiences a dry season and the Caribbean coast gets rain.

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