100. Hurricanes and Bad Weather Throughout the Country

Saturday 10/8- While we don’t watch news in the traditional sense (morning or evening TV news) we get a lot of our local news via Facebook. I know, that’s dangerous right, but it makes the most sense here. We have our Costa Rican expat groups that are all full of gossip, travel tips, and moving advice, but they are also good about sharing what is going on in the country. I also follow some local news sources (online newspapers, etc) and the page for the Costa Rica Meteorological Institute so I have my bases covered for the items that would be most relevant to us. In the last couple of days we have seen many posts about a tropical storm/hurricane brewing in the Caribbean that is making its way towards Costa Rica. While the high winds aren’t experienced here, Costa Rica was expected to receive very heavy rain and a large storm surge (much higher than normal ocean & tide levels) over the next several days. They were warning against travel, advised everyone to stay home, away from the beaches and to stock up on at least several days worth of essentials. This storm was anticipated to arrive sometime Friday afternoon.

Most of the day Friday was good weather, we even had some good sun for a few hours. There was no sign of the bad weather yet, but just like we were used to back in MN, weather can change in an instant here. It wasn’t until overnight Friday and into Saturday morning that it started to rain. It wasn’t torrential downpours, just some standard Costa Rican green season rain, about 2.2 inches overnight. It even stopped raining for a while on Saturday! Because we know that power outages are common with bad weather, we decided to stock up on some groceries that didn’t have to be refrigerated and that could be cooked on the gas stove top, grill, or even eaten raw. When the power goes out and you don’t know how long it might be out for, the rule is do NOT open the refrigerator or freezer. As long as you leave the doors closed, you’ll have a better chance of your food not spoiling if the power is out for a while. This is why non-refrigerated food is essential. I can still cook, but I won’t open that fridge! So, Saturday morning we made a quick trip to the grocery store for those types of things, we made sure that we had a few gallons of drinking water ready, and charged up all of our devices, just in case! 


We are the blue dot

Even though it didn’t keep raining all day, it was a good day to stay home and relax, and work on getting caught up on blog writing (It seems as though I’m always a month behind on writing these, not to mention uploading them to the website & adding pictures! Good thing I keep good notes!)

We were beginning to think that all of this talk of heavy and potentially dangerous rain was wrong, or at least wasn’t happening in our area, but weather is tricky like that. Especially hurricanes- you know how unpredictable those can be! I kept an eye on my weather app to see what was going on, but was definitely paying more attention to what I was seeing on Facebook from reports across the country. (As a note, weather apps are mostly useless down here as there are thousands of micro-climates that change within just a few miles. The weather apps will show a high chance of rain all day, every day during the green season. That is not the reality of the weather here!! The only time I pay attention to these apps are when there is a big storm like this that can be tracked from space and you can get a general overview of where it is heading.) 


The predicted path has changed and its moving more north across Nicaragua

The rain started again overnight Saturday and it rained all day on Sunday. We didn’t end up with any severe winds or storms, just a fair bit of rain. According to our rain gauge, we got a total of about 8.6 inches within about 24 hours. A friend of ours who lives about 15 miles south of us reported 16 inches (see where those micro climates make a big difference!) We saw on the Facebook groups that there were many neighborhoods nearby that had a lot of flooding. Fortunately, our neighborhood was safe.


Later we found out that this storm was Hurricane Julia and ended up staying North of Costa Rica, crossing straight over Nicaragua and El Salvador. They received the majority of the destruction that you would expect from a hurricane. We didnt get the high winds or severe rains but better to play it safe than be sorry.

Thursday 10/13- It's been pretty dreary around here lately, but this morning when I woke up, I felt the need for the beach. Even though Ramie has been walking on the beach the last few days doing the night time turtle walks, he was a trooper and agreed that since it is my day off work, that walking on the beach some more wasn’t a problem! It wasn’t a clear, beautiful morning, but it didn’t need to be for our type of beach day; we aren’t the type of people to lay out and bask in the sun and the sand! We jumped in the car and started heading toward our secret beach. We weren’t even 5 minutes down the highway when we started noticing raindrops on the windshield. It didn’t take long after that and it was full-on raining, not raining hard, but raining steady. We discussed turning around and going home but decided to continue on to the beach despite the rain. Plus, a lot can change with the weather in a 20 minute drive, it might not even be raining at the beach (remember that friend 15 miles from us received twice as much rain as we did earlier this week)! Besides, even if it is raining, who cares?! At least we won’t have to worry about getting sun burned or getting too hot!!

It was still raining lightly when we got there, but it didn’t bother us at all. As we drove in we guessed that it must have been raining quite a bit overnight, as the road that is usually visible (with huge mud puddles, but still a road) was now a shallow river. The water coming down the road was even flowing like a small creek. We had never seen this here before, it was kind of neat! Still, we didn’t let it stop us and just drove right on through. We’ve been coming here long enough that we know this road and that the ground is firm enough and not going to wash away beneath our tires. 

Completely flooded and flowing water down the road. It was up to the bottom of our doors at one point.

We got to where we park and did like we always do, left everything in the car and started walking. This was our first beach day in the rain, and you know what, it wasn’t so bad! Yeah, we were soaked from head to toe, but who cares!? We had our swimsuits on and those are meant to get wet. We walked along the high tide line looking for beach treasures, turtle nests, and anything else that caught our eye. Now that we both know what to look for, it will probably become a habit to look for turtle nests, even though there would be nothing we could do with it if we found one. Unfortunately, along our walk we did find several of what appeared to be nests that had already been poached as well as the remains of a dead sea turtle. The turtle looked as if it had been there for a week or longer since all that remained were the shell, a skull, and a few other pieces of bone scattered around.

By the time we made it to our normal turn-around point, which turned out to be much quicker than normal (probably because we didn’t take our leisurely time as much as we usually do) the rain had stopped and the clouds were burning off. We took our time on our walk back and by the time we made it back to where we were parked it had turned out to be a beautiful morning.  We were even pretty much dry! We walked around a little more in this area to look for treasures and then decided it was time to head home. 

Back at home for the rest of the day we both got to work on our computers: Me working on the blog, and Ramie working on the Airbnb page and guest “information book” for the house next door. If anyone is looking for a place to stay, it’s a modern 3 bedroom house with the best neighbors ever! If your interested in coming to visit check it out. Casa Blanca

For the most part we are trying to live a simple relaxing life, and I sure do like simple relaxing days off like today 😊

Sunday 10/16- October is typically the rainiest month of the green season. We knew that from our research before moving down here and from our experience here last year, but this year it seems like we have been getting even more rain than a typical rainy season. The ground is saturated and there have been many reports of landslides and flooding, even more so than usual. When we walk through the yard we can feel the ground squish beneath our shoes, and the soil never has a chance to dry out. We have been seeing a lot of information via our “favorite” local news source- Facebook- of the many problems that have been happening in the area stemming from all of the rain. (Please note, while we do believe that FB is mostly evil and would love to quit it, it truly is the easiest way to communicate with all of you friends AND to get accurate current news in our area, so we will continue to put up with the shenanigans only because it makes our lives a bit easier).

Today we also learned through our FB groups that Jaco, a busy tourist beach town about halfway between here and San Jose, was completely flooded. There were pictures of the streets and businesses underwater because there has been so much rain and nowhere for all of the water to run away to quickly enough. Last week a town about an hour South of us was completely flooded as well. There is a bridge that we have driven over on our way to Panama which is typically about 50-60 feet above the river, we saw videos of this river now flowing less than 10’ below it. The amount of rain water running through this country currently is incredible. Thankfully the waters have receded and many of the affected areas are trying to get back to normal. We also keep hearing reports that in many places along the highway between here and San Jose there have been terrible landslides along the highways and roads were closed for miles. We were glad that we didn’t have anywhere that we had to be any time soon, as there aren’t a lot of available detours. As always, we will continue to keep an eye on the situation in the areas surrounding us. Hopefully this rainy season will slow down and come to an end soon! 

It continued to rain for a few more days following this, and we continued to hear reports of additional flooding in areas around us. The weather reports show that we are in another “tropical wave”.  It is strange that we get more rain and flooding with these tropical waves than we did last week when the hurricane was going across Nicaragua.  If we’ve learned anything about the weather here, it is that it is even more unpredictable than the weather in MN seemed. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that green season lets up soon, because I think the country has seen enough heavy rainfall for a while!

Pura Vida