May 28 2015

Monthly Costa Rica Weather Report – April 2015

Monthly Costa Rica Weather Report for San Ramón, Atenas, Nuevo Arenal, Quepos, Near San Isidro de General, & San Rafael de Heredia – April 2015

Costa Rica weather - rain

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You’ll notice that we now show rainfall and temperatures for six towns in Costa Rica. This isn’t weather forecasting. We report after the fact to give you a much better picture of the weather in each of these areas.

Do you track the weather data for your town in Costa Rica? If so, we’d like to talk to you about including it in our monthly report. We would especially like to add weather reports from Grecia and Puriscal. Anybody interested??

You can click on the map to the right to enlarge it and check out the average rainfall for the towns in which you are interested. Remember that the areas shaded in darker blue tend to be higher in elevation and also the places most expats choose to live.

Paul’s San Ramón Observations, Facts, & Tidbits for April:

  • We had 22 days with temps over 80° F and 3 days at 84° F, the high temperature for the month.
  • April is a transition month. Often the winds stop and usher in the rainy season in May. With the decrease in wind, there are more clouds and higher humidity, along with more bird and insect activity.
  • Although it can rain some in April and early May, usually it’s mid-May before the rainy season really kicks in.
  • Usually in April, in our part of San Ramón, we get about 2 inches of rain. However, in April of 2012 we had a record-breaking 11.9 inches of rainfall, all within a one week period.
  • Costa Rica weather - San Ramon & Atenas mapTotal rainfall in 2014 total was 120 inches and 2013’s rainfall was 111 inches in our area of San Ramón.

Lance T’s Atenas Observations, Facts, & Tidbits for April:

  • We heard a few days ago that April and May which bridge the dry and green seasons in Costa Rica are the hottest months of the year. At least for the area of Atenas where we live, this is confirmed by last year’s weather records – and it appears that the same will be true this year.
  • Characteristic of the green season, there were four days in the latter part of April with short lived downpours of rain. The hottest daytime high air temperature so far this year was on 90.3°F on April 6th. But, characteristic of the dry season, this was accompanied by a relatively low humidity reading of 21%. The net result was a “feels like” temperature of 89.3°F.
  • In contrast, while daytime high air temperatures during the last four days of April were about the same as in early April, the humidity skyrocketed. On April 28th, the daytime high air temperature was 89.6°F. This was accompanied by a humidity reading of 64%. The net result was a “feels like” temperature of 101°F. “Feel like” temperatures over 100 degrees can be expected on the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, but not Atenas. Even the Ticos (native Costa Ricans) were complaining. During the entirety of last year, the hottest “feels like” temperature where we live in Atenas was measured as a mere 94°F.
  • Total rainfall in 2014 was 73.59 inches and 2013’s rainfall was 63.84 inches in our area of Atenas.

Costa Rica weather - Lake Arenal map

John’s Nuevo Arenal Observations, Facts, & Tidbits for April:

  • April, which is usually our driest month, had double the normal 3 inches of rainfall.
  • For you birding enthusiasts, we identified two more birds in our area: the grayish saltator and the red-throated ant-tanager.
  • We had a record-breaking 185 inches of rain  for the year 2014. Total rainfall in 2013 was 164.75 inches in our area of Nuevo Arenal.

Lance M’s Central Pacific Observations, Facts, & Tidbits for April:

  • April turned out to be one of the hottest months of the whole dry season. The locals have told us that they can’t remember an April being this hot. We had 4 days under 95 with the coldest being 91 and the hottest being 102 with a heat index of 127. The cooler days were when we had rain so the cloud cover and the rain really helped cool us off. We broke down and ran our A/C in the bedroom on the steamy nights.
  • The town has quieted down since the majority of tourist have left going back to their homes. The town has painted parking spots on the streets and now you have to go and buy a parking pass to legally park in a spot. Not sure how it is going to work. People are still trying to get used to the way the city has changed the direction of travel on the streets.
  • When it gets as hot as it has been, I wonder if we should live at a higher elevation but there is a magical draw back to the sand and waves of the Pacific.
  • On a happy note, on the 21st of May our family will be getting our residency. It has been a long time waiting but well worth it.
  • Costa Rica weather - Quepos & San Isidro de General map2014 rainfall for the Quepos area of the Central Pacific was 73.54 inches (as of February 2014 when I started measuring it for this newsletter).

Gordon’s Quebradas (San Isidro de General) Observations, Facts, & Tidbits for April:

  • Yup, the rain man cometh! We had 50% more rainy days in April than in March, (15 days this month) with 5 days of less than 0.1″ (.254 cm.), only fractionally higher – 7.5″ (18.4 cm) in March compared to 7.45″ (18.92 cm) April.
  • And it sure is nice to see everything getting nice and green again!
  • More good news…I finished painting the interior of our house! And we have
    installed a custom made cedar screen door on the front – nice to be able to get the
    gentle breeze without the bugs and creepy crawlies!
  • We made a Panama border run last month to keep legal with our car insurance and, later in the month, a 3 day 2 night trip with 2 other couples into San Jose. That trip was good news for the economy of the city – heck, I’m surprised they didn’t offer us a key to the city!!
  • And it is still a wonderful life in Costa Rica! Pura Vida!

Steve’s San Rafael de Heredia Observations, Facts, & Tidbits for April:

  • El Niño — Total rainfall to date is 19.2 inches. Last year at this time it was 12.4 inches. This January was the rainiest January we’ve had since I began collecting data five years ago. We’d had two relatively dry years and I began to suspect this was going to be a wet one. The trend continued in February when rainfall was above normal. March rainfall was about normal, and now, get this, April was the driest we’ve had in five years. What happened? Well, about a month ago NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) issued a report that a new El Niño had been detected, a late one and a weak one, but still, an El Niño. My understanding is that this means warmer and dryer weather for Costa Rica.

Costa Rica weather - Heredia Map

  • Rain Shadows — I grew up in Longview, Washington. Longview is west of the Cascade Range. The weather in Longview comes in off the Pacific Ocean so it is rainy most of the winter. I remember once when we drove across the Cascades to eastern Washington, where the climate is completely different. I asked dad why it was so dry there, and he told me it was because it was in the “rain shadow” created by the Cascade Range. So when we moved to Costa Rica in 2009 I knew automatically that we would be living in the rain shadow during the months of December through April when the weather was dominated by the trade winds, which blow from the northeast across the mountain ranges. We live on the south side of Cerro Chompipe (Turkey Hill) which is part of the Cordillera Central. As the yigüiro flies, we’re two miles, more or less, from the continental divide. But we get lots of rain during the “dry” months. I have come to realize that my understanding of the “rain shadow” effect was too simple. The rain shadow doesn’t actually start at the top of the range. The rain slops over onto the leeward side. The distance the rain encroaches on the leeward side depends on the height of the mountain and the force of the wind (which is changing constantly). So during the dry season we get lots of fine horizontal rain. Another two miles downhill it is as dry as a bone. But where we live the grass generally stays green all during the “dry” season.
  • The Longest Day of the Year – We were all taught in school that in the northern hemisphere the summer solstice takes place June 20, 21, or 22 (depending on the year). This is the date when the sun reaches its highest position in the sky, and is also the longest day of the year. What we weren’t taught was that this only works if we live north of the Tropic of Cancer. The Tropic of Cancer is the most northerly circle of latitude on the Earth at which the Sun may appear directly overhead. If you live in Costa Rica you live south of the Tropic of Cancer and north of the Equator. This means the sun is highest in the sky on two different days – one day in April as it moves north and then again on a day in August as it moves south. This means that Costa Rica actually has two days a year that are the “longest day of the year.” Where I live the first longest day is April 18. I found this out by searching “San Rafael de Heredia Costa Rica” and “latitude” on the internet. Then I went to the Table of the Declination of the Sun and looked up my latitude. You can do the same thing to find out what your two longest days of the year are.
Costa Rica Weather - April 2015 temps

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Costa Rica Weather - April 2015 rain

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Costa Rica weather - weatherman Paul Yeatman

Our San Ramón Weatherman, Paul Yeatman

Meteorology has been Paul’s lifelong hobby.  As a child, he devoured books about the weather and earth sciences vigorously. Later, he took a few college courses in meteorology, and still later, he served as a meteorologist for the U.S. Army in Vietnam.  Now, Paul gets to practice his avocation in Costa Rica, albeit on a very small scale with just temperature and rainfall data, probably the two most important factors regarding the weather. He wanted to include weather info on our website to help people decide where to live, although weather is just one of many factors to consider in determining where to relocate. Current weather data is from our current home at about 3,000 ft. elevation and 10 minutes outside the town of San Ramón. Weather data prior to December 2012 is from our previous home at about 4,000 ft. elevation and 10 minutes outside the town of San Ramón.

Costa Rica weather - weatherman Lance Turlock

Our Atenas Weatherman, Lance Turlock

Lance and his wife, Diana, moved to Costa Rica about 2 years ago after living 30+ years in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia (Vancouver and environs). They live in the Central Valley near the town of Atenas and are at an elevation of about 2700 feet. They have no need for air conditioning or heating. Overnight low temperatures are comfortably cool (low 60’s). Daytime highs can be relatively hot (high 80’s, low 90’s), but rarely uncomfortably hot.Lance started to keep track of daily temperatures and rainfall in order to have factual ammunition to help disabuse friends, relatives and acquaintances of any misconception that the weather must be like that of a tropical jungle.

Costa Rica weather - weatherman John Nicholas

Our Nuevo Arenal Weatherman, John Nicholas

After many visits to Costa Rica, John and Cathy Nicholas moved from New York to Costa Rica in 1991.  They chose Arenal for its sacred, majestic beauty, its lush wildlife, its relaxing lifestyle, and its proximity to activities and sites such as the Volcano Arenal and the beaches. They own the B&B, Chalet Nicholas, which has been in operation since 1992. Temperatures and rainfall are measured at Chalet Nicholas which is located at approximately 2,200 ft. elevation and 1 mile west of the town of Nuevo Arenal.

Our Central Pacific (Quepos) Weatherman, Lance Miller

Costa Rica weather - weatherman Lance MillerI was born in a very small town in northwest Iowa and raised on a farm. When I was 18, I joined the service, in which I spent 22 years before retiring in 1990. For the next twenty three years my family and I lived in south central Pennsylvania. After having a stroke in 2012, I was unable to work and that is when my wife and I began talking about retiring. Thanks to your newsletter and a website we found about San Isidro, we began looking at Costa Rica. We came down in March 2013 and looked around for a week. Went home, packed up, and moved here in April. We settled in a small village called Playa Matapalo which is located between Quepos and Dominical. We later moved to Quepos. The word Playa means beach. It is so nice to lie in bed and listen to the ocean. Pura Vida. We will continue the weather info next month.

Costa Rica weather - weatherman Gordon StanleyOur Quebradas (15 minutes north of San Isidro de General) Weatherman, Gordon Stanley

Gordon and his wife Bea moved here from Lloydminster, Alberta, Canada, where he used to track the correlation of the winter hoer frost and the spring/summer rains. After 30+ years as a Purchasing Agent for a retail lumber yard/Homes Manufacturing company, he decided to say “Adios” to the snow and ice. They arrived in Costa Rica Oct. 3, 2014, and live in Quebradas, which is a 15 minute drive North of San Isidro de General, at an elevation of about 3600 feet. There is a stream that runs behind the hill in their back yard, so are “forced” to listen to the sound of running water 24/7. Ahh the tough life! They are totally enjoying their new found retirement freedom in this wonderful land that they discovered thanks to this newsletter.

Costa Rica weather - weatherman Steve JohnsonOur San Rafael de Heredia Weatherman, Steve Johnson

I’m a weather geek and have been recording daily weather data for the last 4 years in Concepcion de San Rafael de Heredia. We live at 5,000 ft. (1,500 meters) elevation, above San Rafael centro on a low ridge that comes off of Cerro Chompipe (between Barva Volcano and los Cerros de Zurqui). We have a 60 mile wide view from Turrialba Volcano east to somewhere around Cerro Turrubares west. I first lived in CR as a Peace Corps volunteer (1968-71), married a tica school teacher, and moved back to Costa Rica in 2009. My wife grew up in downtown San Rafael just three miles away, and the weather is quite different there. I am also an avid gardener and birder.

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