Thursday, May 29, 2008


We had an odd sort of rain experience here, over 24 hours of what sure seemed like rain bands--heavy (but not aguasero) rains, then a dry interval, then rain again.  To me, it seemed like everything I've ever read about rain in hurricanes which, fortunately, I've never experienced.  No wind, though.  And definitely coming from the south.

Then today I received an email warning of potential flash flooding in mountainous regions of Central America thanks to a massive tropical depression just off the Pacific coast of Costa Rica.  Tropical depressions, of course, are the forerunners of hurricanes, so it made sense.  Thus the warning of flooding.

We don't need storms like this to provide drama through water.  Last year was a particularly wet one, with flooding in Panamá in areas that rarely experience overflowing rivers.  We had several flash floods in a quebrada near us.  The picture shows the stream that forms from runoff water in back of the house that is diverted to the east side and runs down a little gully that passes underneath our driveway.  I took it from our side door while it was still raining.

We always have runoff like this in September and October during the height of the rainy season.  Last year, though, it occurred far more frequently than in previous years.  Yesterday, thanks to the rain band phenomenon, we didn't have that kind of severe runoff.

The tropical depression was supposed to move north yesterday, and it finally did--the rain stopped about 3 am this  morning.

Addition and correction: 
Latest satellite image shows that we're probably not done with the system yet.  Evidently it's gotten bigger.  True to report, just as Mary was telling me this, the rain started up again.

Yet another addendum:  the rain is much worse than yesterday--the rain is lasting longer between intervals, the intervals are shorter in duration, and it is coming down much, much harder, although in waves.  I have a feeling that instead of dry intervals, all we're going to see is a lessening in intensity, almost like surf.  I'm glad we went to David yesterday, because I wouldn't dream of driving in this rain--suicidal.

Lloyd Cripe, whose Web site ( is on the sidebar, has just cracked that if this keeps going on, we're all going to have tropical depression!

Another update:
La Prensa this morning reported that the Panamanian Weather Bureau has issued an alert for heavy rains and possible flooding and mud slides until 4 pm today for the provinces of Chiriquí, Bocas del Toro, Veraguas, Los Santos, Herrera, Panamá, and the Ngobe Buglé Comarca.  Yesterday's rains caused flooding and mud slides in the capital.  Another article reported that Bocas del Toro had been cut off from the rest of the country by land because of a mud slide on the highway, but our friends (whose son works there) tell us that that's so common as to be unremarkable.  However, it's one of the reasons why he hates working there.  He likes to come home for the weekends and sometimes he can't due to problems like this.

Llloyd Cripe reports that he's recorded 3.9" of rain since midnight over near Boquete.  I'm really anxious to get our weather station in October.  Our rain bands are decreasing in intensity and frequency.  We've got our usual streams (one of them in the above picture) in both gullies on each side of the house, but they're lessening in volume.

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