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May 07 2012

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Our Weather in San Ramón de Alajuela, Costa Rica – 2012

Paul’s Monthly Weather Report – January 2012

Click to enlarge.

As you probably already know, there are two seasons in Costa Rica, a wet season (winter) from May to November, and a dry season (summer) from December to April.  Additionally, there are many micro-climates here that change the weather, usually depending on altitude and topography.  The climate is different on the Caribbean slope than on the Pacific side.  Guanacaste in the northwest region of the country gets a little less rain and more sun, while the Osa Peninsula in the southwest gets more rain and less sun.

Let’s see what happened on our mountain at 3950 feet elevation, four miles west of San Ramón. The dry season is in full swing.

We took the temperature at 6am, mid-day, and 6pm daily, as well as rainfall totals for the previous 24 hours, measured at 6am.

Rain Data from January 1st to January 31st (31 days)

  • 0 inches of total rainfall
  • 2 days measured trace amounts of rain

Temperature data from January 1st to January 31st (31 days)

  • 6am average: 58.3°f (lowest reading was 55°f on 2 days)
  • Mid-day average: 72.6°f (high of 78°f & low of 63°f during a 3-day cold snap )
  • 6pm average: 63.3°f (lowest reading was 59°f and highest was 65°f on 6 days)

That’s it for this report. We’ll continue the weather info next month.

Paul’s Monthly Weather Report – February 2012

Let’s see what happened on our mountain at 3950 feet elevation, four miles west of San Ramon, and 9 degrees north of the equator. The dry season is still going strong.

We took the temperature at 6am, mid-day, and 6pm daily, as well as rainfall totals for the previous 24 hours, measured at 6am. All temperature readings are taken in the shade (just like official meteorologists do). If taken in the sunshine, the temps are usually 8-10 degrees higher. You also have to take into account the altitude. We spent some time down on the coast the other day and it was HOT! So, the higher the elevation, the cooler the temps. It gets warmer by about 4-5 degrees per 1000 feet as you descend in elevation.

Rain Data from February 1st to February 29th  (29 days)

  • 0 inches of total rainfall
  • 3 days measured trace amounts of rain

Temperature data from February 1st to February 29th  (29 days)

  • 6am average: 59.2°f (lowest reading was 57°f on 2 days)
  • Mid-day average: 76.6°f (high of 83°f & low of 73°f on 2 days)
  • 6pm average: 64.3°f (lowest reading was 62°f and highest was 66°f )

Our two warmest months (March & April) are still to come, as the Sun moves closer to the equator. That’s it for this report. We’ll continue the weather info next month.

Paul’s Monthly Weather Report – March 2012

Let’s see what happened on our mountain at 3950 feet elevation, four miles west of San Ramon, and 9 degrees north of the equator. The dry season is still going strong.

We took the temperature at 6am, mid-day, and 6pm daily, as well as rainfall totals for the previous 24 hours, measured at 6am. All temperature readings are taken in the shade (just like official meteorologistsdo). If taken in the sunshine, the temps are usually 8-10 degrees higher. You also have to take into account the altitude — the higher the elevation, the cooler the temps. It gets warmer by about 4-5 degrees per 1000 feet as you descend in elevation.

Rain Data from March 1st to March 31st  (31 days)

  • 0 inches of total rainfall
  • 2 days measured trace amounts of rain

Temperature data from March 1st to March 31st  (31 days)

  • 6am average: 60°f (lowest reading was 56°f on 1 day, highest reading was 64°f on 1 day)
  • Mid-day average: 78.3°f (high of 80°f on 7 days & low of 74°f on 1 day)
  • 6pm average: 64.8°f (lowest reading was 63°f on 5 days and highest was 67°f  on 2 days)

March was warmer but our warmest month (April) is still to come. That’s it for this report. We’ll continue the weather info next month.

Paul’s Monthly Weather Report – April 2012

Let’s see what happened on our mountain at 3950 feet elevation, four miles west of San Ramon, and 9 degrees north of the equator. Normally, April is a relatively dry month, with about 2 inches of rain. But this year was an exception, with April exceeding the normal rainfall for May, June, or July of 8 inches per month.

We took the temperature at 6am, mid-day, and 6pm daily, as well as rainfall totals for the previous 24 hours, measured at 6am. All temperature readings are taken in the shade (just like official meteorologists do). If taken in the sunshine, the temps are usually 8-10 degrees higher. You also have to take into account the altitude — the higher the elevation, the cooler the temps. It gets warmer by about 4-5 degrees per 1000 feet as you descend in elevation.

Rain Data from April 1st to April 30th (30 days)

  • 11.9 inches of total rainfall
  • 4 days measured trace amounts of rain
  • 16 days with zero rainfall
We suggested that  Gloria’s brother and his wife visit in April because it’s usually the warmest month and also a dry one. But as luck would have it, only days after they arrived, the skies opened up — the week before and after their visit, we had zero rain. April usually gets only 2 inches of rainfall, but during their 9-day visit, we had 9.6 inches of rain. After dropping them off at the airport for their return to Florida, it got sunny again. Go figure.

Temperature data from April 1st to April 30th (30 days)

  • 6am average: 62.5°f (lowest reading was 58°f on 1 day, highest reading was 65°f on 1 day)
  • Mid-day average: 76.1°f (high of 81°f on 2 days & low of 70°f on 1 day)
  • 6pm average: 65.7°f (lowest reading was 62°f on 1 day and highest was 68°f  on 1 day)

That’s it for this report. We’ll continue the weather info next month.

Paul’s Monthly Weather Report – May 2012

We took the temperature at 6am, mid-day, and 6pm daily, as well as rainfall totals for the previous 24 hours, measured at 6am. All temperature readings are taken in the shade (just like official meteorologists do). If taken in the sunshine, the temps are usually 8-10 degrees higher. You also have to take into account the altitude — the higher the elevation, the cooler the temps. It gets warmer by about 4-5 degrees per 1000 feet as you descend in elevation.

Rain Data from May 1st to May 31st (31 days)

  • 16 inches of total rainfall (3 inches fell on 5/14…probably one of those “15 days”)
  • 6 days measured trace amounts of rain
  • 5 days with zero rainfall

Temperature data from May 1st to May 31st (31 days)

  • 6am average: 63.85°f (lowest reading was 62°f on 4 days)
  • Mid-day average: 74.7°f (high of 77°f on 7 days & low of 71°f on 1 day)
  • 6pm average: 66.5°f (lowest reading was 63°f on 1 day and highest was 69°f  on 1 day)

That’s it for this report. We’ll continue the weather info next month.

Paul’s Monthly Weather “Report” – June 2012 Data

Let’s see what happened on our mountain at 3950 feet elevation, four miles west of San Ramon, and 9 degrees north of the equator.

We took the temperature at 6am, mid-day, and 6pm daily, as well as rainfall totals for the previous 24 hours, measured at 6am. All temperature readings are taken in the shade (just like official meteorologists do). If taken in the sunshine, the temps are usually 8-10 degrees higher. You also have to take into account the altitude — the higher the elevation, the cooler the temps. It gets warmer by about 4-5 degrees per 1000 feet as you descend in elevation.

Rain Data from June 1st to June 30th (30 days)

  • 9.75 inches of total rainfall (2.75 inches on one day)
  • 6 days measured trace amounts of rain
  • 7 days with zero rainfall

Temperature data from June 1st to June 30th (30 days)

  • 6am average: 63.4°f (lowest reading was 61°f on 1 day)
  • Mid-day average: 73.7°f (high of 78°f on 1 day & low of 67°f on 1 day)
  • 6pm average: 66°f (lowest reading was 63°f on 1 day and highest was 70°f  on 1 day)

That’s it for this report. We’ll continue the weather info next month.

Paul’s Monthly Weather “Report” – July 2012 Data

Let’s see what happened on our mountain at 3950 feet elevation, four miles west of San Ramon, and 9 degrees north of the equator.

We took the temperature at 6am, mid-day, and 6pm daily, as well as rainfall totals for the previous 24 hours, measured at 6am. All temperature readings are taken in the shade (just like official meteorologists do). If taken in the sunshine, the temps are usually 8-10 degrees higher. You also have to take into account the altitude — the higher the elevation, the cooler the temps. It gets warmer by about 4-5 degrees per 1000 feet as you descend in elevation.

Rain Data from July 1st to July 31st (31 days)

  • 6.6 inches of total rainfall (1.4 inches on one day and 1.1 inches on two days between July 4th-10th)
  • 5 days measured trace amounts of rain
  • 13 days with zero rainfall

Temperature data from July 1st to July 31st (31 days)

  • 6am average: 62.9°f (lowest reading was 61°f on 4 days)
  • Mid-day average: 73.4°f (high of 78°f on 2 days & the lowest high of 65°f on 1 day)
  • 6pm average: 65.9°f (lowest reading was 64°f on 4 days and highest was 68°f  on 2 days)

That’s it for this report. We’ll continue the weather info next month.

Paul’s Monthly Weather “Report” – August 2012 Data

Let’s see what happened on our mountain at 3950 feet elevation, four miles west of San Ramon, and 9 degrees north of the equator. Here’s the trend over the last 11 months:

  • October 2011: 35 inches (normal 13-15 inches)
  • November 2011: 5 inches
  • December 2011: 2 inches
  • January 2012: 0 inches
  • February 2012: 0 inches
  • March 2012: 0 inches
  • April 2012: 11.9 inches (normally 2 inches)
  • May 2012: 16 inches
  • June 2012: 9.75 inches
  • July 2012: 6.6 inches
  • August 2012: 18 inches

We took the temperature at 6am, mid-day, and 6pm daily, as well as rainfall totals for the previous 24 hours, measured at 6am. All temperature readings are taken in the shade (just like official meteorologists do). If taken in the sunshine, the temps are usually 8-10 degrees higher. You also have to take into account the altitude — the higher the elevation, the cooler the temps. It gets warmer by about 4-5 degrees per 1000 feet as you descend in elevation.

We’re at 3950 feet elevation and, if you look at the rainfall map above, temperatures and rainfall will be approximately the same in all mountainous areas (the green shaded areas on the map) around the Central Valley. If you were to look at the mountains outside of Grecia, for instance, and where we live, the data would be similar, so it wouldn’t hurt to extrapolate.

It rained 18 inches in August, which is above the norm but on the days of the heaviest rainfall, we got our rain at night which is, again, different from the norm. The normal weather pattern held — sunny mornings, with clouds coming in late mornings and rain after 2pm; in this particular month, often after 5pm, so it didn’t really feel like we had 18 inches.

Rain Data from August 1st to August 31st (31 days)

  • 18 inches of total rainfall ( heaviest rainfall: 3.4 inches on 8/7, 2.45 inches on 8/29, and 2.2 inches on 8/15)
  • 2 days measured trace amounts of rain
  • 5 days with zero rainfall

Temperature data from August 1st to August 31st (31 days)

  • 6am average: 62.4°f (lowest reading was 61°f on 6 days)
  • Mid-day average: 73.7°f (high of 79°f on 1 day & the lowest high of 70°f on 1 day)
  • 6pm average: 65.6°f (lowest reading was 64°f on 6 days and highest was 68°f  on 1 day)

That’s it for this report. We’ll continue the weather info next month.

Paul’s Monthly Weather “Report” – September 2012 Data

Let’s see what happened on our mountain at 3950 feet elevation, four miles west of San Ramon, and 9 degrees north of the equator. Here’s the trend over the last 9 months: 

  • January 2012: 0 inches
  • February 2012: 0 inches
  • March 2012: 0 inches
  • April 2012: 11.9 inches (normally 2 inches)
  • May 2012: 16 inches
  • June 2012: 9.75 inches
  • July 2012: 6.6 inches
  • August 2012: 18 inches
  • September 2012: 12.55 inches

Total rainfall so far this rainy season: 74.8 inches

We took the temperature at 6am, mid-day, and 6pm daily, as well as rainfall totals for the previous 24 hours, measured at 6am. All temperature readings are taken in the shade (just like official meteorologists do). If taken in the sunshine, the temps are usually 8-10 degrees higher. You also have to take into account the altitude — the higher the elevation, the cooler the temps. It gets warmer by about 4-5 degrees per 1000 feet as you descend in elevation.

We’re at 3950 feet elevation and, if you look at the rainfall map above, temperatures and rainfall will be approximately the same in all mountainous areas (the green shaded areas on the map) around the Central Valley. If you were to look at the mountains outside of Grecia, for instance, and where we live, the data would be similar, so it wouldn’t hurt to extrapolate.

As you can see from the data below, September was a relatively benign month. We got the average. It was like most months in the rainy season. So far we’ve had 74.8 inches of rain, with October still to go. As you can see from the weather map above, San Ramon gets 60-80 inches of rain per year, while we, 4 miles away and 500 feet higher, receive 80-100 inches annually. The only month that tripped us up so far was April, which saw almost 12 inches instead of the normal two. Otherwise, it’s been a fairly normal rainy season.

We write about the rain a lot, but it’s the temperatures in the Central Valley which are truly amazing. Depending on your elevation, not only does rainfall vary, but so do temperatures. On our mountain at 4,000 ft. elevation, temperatures are between 60°f to 80°f all year long. Daytime highs are 73°f +/- 5°f, while lows are 60°f +/- 4°f all year long. When they say it’s eternal Spring in the Central Valley, they’re not kidding. If you want it a little warmer, head a little lower to Alajuela (elevation 3000′) or Atenas (elevation 2100′).

Rain Data from September 1st to September 31st (31 days)

  • 12.55 inches of total rainfall ( heaviest rainfall: 1.5 inches on 2 days)
  • 4 days measured trace amounts of rain
  • 7 days with zero rainfall

Temperature data from September 1st to September 31st (31 days)

  • 6am average: 61.8°f (lowest reading was 60°f on 1 day)
  • Mid-day average: 72.3°f (high of 80°f on 1 day & the lowest high of 70°f on 2 days)
  • 6pm average: 64.4°f (lowest reading was 63°f on 3 days and highest was 67°f  on 2 days)

That’s it for this report. We’ll continue the weather info next month.

Paul’s Monthly Weather “Report” – October 2012 Data

Let’s see what happened on our mountain at 3950 feet elevation, four miles west of San Ramon, and 9 degrees north of the equator. Here’s the trend over the last 10 months:

  • January 2012: 0 inches
  • February 2012: 0 inches
  • March 2012: 0 inches
  • April 2012: 11.9 inches (normally 2 inches)
  • May 2012: 16 inches
  • June 2012: 9.75 inches
  • July 2012: 6.6 inches
  • August 2012: 18 inches
  • September 2012: 12.55 inches
  • October 2012: 12.96 inches

Total rainfall so far this rainy season: 87.76 inches

We took the temperature at 6am, mid-day, and 6pm daily, as well as rainfall totals for the previous 24 hours, measured at 6am. All temperature readings are taken in the shade (just like official meteorologists do). If taken in the sunshine, the temps are usually 8-10 degrees higher. You also have to take into account the altitude — the higher the elevation, the cooler the temps. It gets warmer by about 4-5 degrees per 1000 feet as you descend in elevation.

As of the end of October, the rainfall is down 20-25% country-wide and an early exit of the rainy season does not bode well for any catch-up. Our 87.6 total inches here at the cabinas at 3,950 ft. elevation was less overall than last year, and this October’s rainfall of 12.96 inches is significantly less than last year’s 36.4 inches. We haven’t had any significant rain for the last five days. But the rains may not be over. The beginning of November can be wet, but usually by the end of the month, it’s dry in our part of the country. Last November (2011) we had 5 inches, while last December we had 2 inches. We’ll see what this year will bring.

Instituto Meteorológico Nacional

The Instituto Meteorológico Nacional is predicting an early end to the rainy season and the winds, precursors of the change in seasons, already started in late October. So, when will the dry season start? Here are their predictions by region:

  • Northern Pacific: Nov. 7 to 11
  • Central Valley: Nov. 17 to 21
  • Valley de El General: Dec. 12 to 16
  • Central Pacific: Dec. 12 to 16
  • South Pacific Dec. 22 to 26

Hurricane Sandy:  Costa Rica has never had a direct hit from a hurricane and Sandy was no exception. However, Tropical Storm Sandy still managed to affect our weather. We didn’t get the high winds, but we did get .8 inches of rain on 10/24, 1.7 inches on 10/25, and 1.5 inches on 10/26 as Sandy approached Jamaica, many hundreds of miles to the north.

And you can see in the graph above, overall, there are more tropical storms in September and October than at any other time of the year. Tropical storms are represented by the orange band.

Following is our rain and temperature date for the month of October 2012:

Rain Data from October 1st to October 31st (31 days)

  • 12.96 inches of total rainfall ( heaviest rainfall: 2.8 inches on 1 day)
  • 4 days measured trace amounts of rain
  • 9 days with zero rainfall

Temperature data from October 1st to October 31st (31 days)

  • 6am average: 62.25°f (lowest reading was 60°f on 2 days)
  • Mid-day average: 71.925°f (high of 78°f on 1 day & the lowest high of 67°f on 1 day)
  • 6pm average: 64.7°f (lowest reading was 62°f on 1 day and highest was 67°f  on 2 days)

That’s it for this report. We’ll continue the weather info next month.

Paul’s Monthly Weather Report – November 2012 Data

Let’s see what happened on our mountain at 3950 feet elevation, four miles west of San Ramon, and 9 degrees north of the equator. Here’s the trend over the last 11 months:
  • January 2012: 0 inches
  • February 2012: 0 inches
  • March 2012: 0 inches
  • April 2012: 11.9 inches (normally 2 inches)
  • May 2012: 16 inches
  • June 2012: 9.75 inches
  • July 2012: 6.6 inches
  • August 2012: 18 inches
  • September 2012: 12.55 inches
  • October 2012: 12.96 inches
  • November 2012: 1.85 inches

Total rainfall so far this rainy season: 89.61 inches

We took the temperature at 6am, mid-day, and 6pm daily, as well as rainfall totals for the previous 24 hours, measured at 6am. All temperature readings are taken in the shade (just like official meteorologists do). If taken in the sunshine, the temps are usually 8-10 degrees higher. You also have to take into account the altitude — the higher the elevation, the cooler the temps. It gets warmer by about 4-5 degrees per 1000 feet as you descend in elevation.

Brrrrrr. The dry season has started early this year, with no significant rainfall since October 24th. And the Christmas Winds, which usher in the dry season, also made their appearance earlier than normal. It wasn’t a tease, though. This was the real thing. The wet season was stopped in its tracks on October 25th and we’ve only had 1.85 inches of rain since then.It turned colder, feeling like autumn in the U.S., especially when you live at 4,000 feet above sea level like we do. We even had 11 days with highs only in the 60s. On one day, November 25th, the high was only 64. It even got down to 55 one morning. With no heat, it was tough to get out from under the covers that day. Is this Costa Rica? (I can just hear you, up north, thinking, “Poor babies, you think THAT’S cold!?” We, and our friends throughout the Central Valley, piled on layers of clothing, slept under another a blanket or two, and even resorted to baking something in the oven just to warm up!

However, much of the month would have been good for the beach. Highs there were in the 80s. But we only went once and it was beautiful.

 

Following is our rain and temperature date for the month of November 2012:

Rain Data from November 1st to November 30th (30 days)

  • 1.85 inches of total rainfall ( heaviest rainfall: 0.7 inches on 1 day)
  • 11 days measured trace amounts of rain
  • 11 days with zero rainfall

Temperature data from November 1st to November 30th (30 days)

  • 6am average: 60.9°f (lowest reading was 55°f on 1 day)
  • Mid-day average: 70.0°f (high of 75°f on 1 day & the lowest high of 64°f on 1 day)
  • 6pm average: 63.6°f (lowest reading was 58°f on 1 day and highest was 68°f  on 1 day)

December may be more of the same. We’ll see, and report back in a month.

 

Paul’s Monthly Weather Report – December 2012 Data

We often talk of microclimates in Costa Rica, as there are two things that greatly affect the weather: altitude and topography. This was never brought home so clearly as when we moved last month.

After almost 4 years at the cabinas, at 3950 feet elevation, we moved about 1,000 feet lower. From the cabinas, you could actually see where we’ve moved. As the crow flies, it’s about one mile, but by car, about 10 minutes and 3 miles.

We moved December 12th and, suddenly, everything was different. We knew our new area well. It was 1000 feet lower, 1-5 degrees warmer (but I must admit, it seems greater), with more sun, less rain, clouds, and fog. Our friend, Dave Brink, who used to live next door, said it had the best weather in San Ramon. Of course, it really depends on what you consider the best and what’s right for you. We’ll need to live here a year to better evaluate Dave’s remarks for ourselves.

Unfortunately, leaving our old “digs” on the 12th, didn’t really allow me to complete the weather for the calendar-year as I wanted to. None-the-less, I’ll give you what I’ve got for early December at the cabinas and we can quickly, perhaps, fraudulently split the month and compare.

Here’s the trend over the last 12 months:

  • January 2012: 0 inches
  • February 2012: 0 inches
  • March 2012: 0 inches
  • April 2012: 11.9 inches (normally 2 inches)
  • May 2012: 16 inches
  • June 2012: 9.75 inches
  • July 2012: 6.6 inches
  • August 2012: 18 inches
  • September 2012: 12.55 inches
  • October 2012: 12.96 inches
  • November 2012: 1.85 inches
  • December 2012: 0.10 inches

Total rainfall in 2012: 89.71 inches

We took the temperature at 6am, mid-day, and 6pm daily, as well as rainfall totals for the previous 24 hours, measured at 6am. All temperature readings are taken in the shade (just like official meteorologists do). If taken in the sunshine, the temps are usually 8-10 degrees higher. You also have to take into account the altitude — the higher the elevation, the cooler the temps. It gets warmer by about 4-5 degrees per 1000 feet as you descend in elevation.

Following is our rain and temperature date for the month of December 2012:

Rain Data from December 1st to December 31th (31 days)

  • 0.1 inches of total rainfall (that’s right, we only got 1/10th of an inch for the entire month — last December we got 2 inches)
  • 4 days measured trace amounts of rain
  • 26 days with zero rainfall

Temperature data at the Cabinas from December 1st to December 12th (12 days)

  • 6am average: 61.0°f (lowest reading was 57.75°f on 1 day)
  • Mid-day average: 72.0°f (high of 77°f on 1 day & the lowest high of 66°f on 1 day)
  • 6pm average: 65.0°f (lowest reading was 62°f on 3 days and highest was 69°f  on 1 day)

Temperature data in Magallanes from December 15st to December 31th (16 days)

  • 6am average: 64.0°f (lowest reading was 63°f on 6 days)
  • Mid-day average: 79.0°f (high of 86°f on 1 day & the lowest high of 73°f on 2 days)
  • 6pm average: 68.5°f (lowest reading was 66°f on 2 days and highest was 70°f  on 2 days)

November and December are the coldest months in Costa Rica. Sometimes, I think there should be three seasons: the green/wet season, the dry/high season, and the windy season, which came early this year – on October 25th when the wind came and the rain stopped.

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