Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Let's Talk Weather in Cuenca, Ecuador!

The Tomebamba River
One of the most common questions I receive is about the weather. Folks planning on visiting Cuenca check Weather.com or Wunderground.com, and then shoot me an e-mail that goes something like this: “I checked the forecast and it will be raining the entire two weeks of our visit to Cuenca!” And that statement is usually followed by a question, “Is it like Seattle there?”

It's definitely not Seattle in Cuenca, but some may think so during the months of April and May!

We have been here an entire year and I’ve tracked the weather with my “radar” and I’ve written down the days that it has rained (the weeks and the months). It’s appropriate to say that there is a fair amount of rain in Cuenca. When the glossy print magazines describe Cuenca, they use words like “perpetual spring” which means there is an abundance of rain and blooming flowers; we have both here!

Our Spanish teacher explained the seasons this way: March, April and May are the months of rain with April bringing "aguas mil" (a thousand waters). June, July, August and part of September are the months of "heladas" (winter), which are characterized by cool mornings, giving way to sun, windy afternoons and cool evenings. The remaining months: October, November, December, January and February are "summer," characterized by more sun and less rain.

The great thing about Cuenca is it's so easy to be forgiving about the weather. Even with seven straight days of clouds and rain, all “trespasses” are forgiven when the sun comes out. Today was one of those days! It started out with clouds and rain. In the afternoon it began to clear and the sky was a brilliant blue with white fluffy clouds (70 degrees). On days like today, I think to myself, How can anyone complain about the weather in Cuenca?

Ice in Cuenca?
This morning when I walked Mocha, I slipped on a patch of ice! No kidding. For a moment I thought I was back on the streets of Philadelphia in the winter. It just so happened that a vendor threw his leftover ice on the sidewalk to “melt,” and I happened to trip on it! It was a great wake-up call. Whenever I’m tempted to complain about the rain, I think about how fortunate I am that I don’t have to shovel snow and ice anymore!

It’s safe to say that the weather is changing all around the world and Ecuador is no exception. Cuenca is in a unique position because of the altitude (8,300 feet); it’s where the weather forms. And that’s why it can actually rain while the sun is out or why we have hailstorms at a moment’s notice.

Coming from a California girl’s perspective, this is still paradise: no humidity, no extremes in temperature, no hot days with little relief in sight, and no snow to shovel! On the days that it’s cloudy and rainy, it reminds me of Northern California during the month of January. When the sun is shining and there are blue skies, it reminds me of Dana Point, California without the ocean breeze.

Personally, it's an ideal location: no need for a heater (yep, we made it all year without heating except for occasionally letting the oven door open to warm up the bricks) and no need for air conditioning. Weather wise, I don’t think there's any such thing as a perfect location, but this is just about as close as you can get!

Until next time...hasta luego!

Today's weather report: The morning started out cloudy with rain, giving way to clear and sunny skies at 10:30 a.m., continuing throughout the day (70 degrees).

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