Tropical Storm Sandy

The weather here in Panama, the last couple of days, has been really lousy. While we are in that part of the “rainy season” when our rainfall is greatest what we’re been going through now is unusual. Just to recap what I’ve said about the “rainy season” before…It doesn’t normally rain 31 (that’s 24/7). Most mornings are glorious. Blue skies, puffy white clouds until early afternoon. Then things start to cloud up and just before early evening the sky dumps several inches of water in a couple of hours. Yesterday morning (Wed. Oct. 24), was one of those very rare days when I woke up to rain. I can’t remember more than three or four mornings like that in the two and a half years I’ve been living here. Worse than that, it rained all day long. Not the usual downpours we’ve all come to know and love, but a light, steady rain that just didn’t stop. And it’s still raining this morning and probably will all day long.

Why? Believe it or not, Tropical Storm Sandy which is hovering over Cuba as I write this. We don’t get hurricanes here in Panama. It’s too far south, but that doesn’t mean the storms don’t effect us. They do! Hurricanes are giant weather factories with far-reaching consequences. If you remember your high school science lessons you know that hurricanes, cyclonic disturbances, rotate in a counter-clockwise direction, and that’s what’s changed our weather pattern here.

Look at this NOAA photo of Sandy.

That’s Panama just under and to the left of that huge patch of red. As you can see, the storm is drawing its strength from water vapor all the way into the Pacific Ocean and dragging the bad weather across the isthmus. We’re only about 50 miles or so between the Pacific and the Caribbean here. And it’s causing big problems.

In Tonosi, at the foot of the Azuero Peninsula about 300 houses have been affected by flooding when the Tonosí river overflowed its banks.

(Photo from Panama

Here in Chiriquí Province the river in Puerto Armuelles (about an hour and a half away by bus from my home) over on the Pacific side on the border with Costa Rica, has been threatening to overflow its banks. People in Nuevo Chorrillo, in the district of Arraiján, near Panama City, are living under the threat of landslides from the super-saturated hills above their homes.

While other rivers are threatening homes the river a mere 25 yards or so from my house is doing fine. I’ve written about, and posted videos, about how fast the river can rise to frightening levels in a matter of a few minutes. Right now it’s what I would categorize as “high normal.” Most of the huge boulders as still well above the water level. Since the rain has been light but steady the watershed isn’t being overwhelmed and there’s little to worry about right now.


Filed under Boqueron Panama, Living Abroad, Living in Panama, panama, Retirement Abroad

2 responses to “Tropical Storm Sandy

  1. Capt. Dan.

    Sandy has also been churning up things around Jupiter in very nasty ways. 50-60 mph winds, lots and lots of rain. Starting to let up just now as she moves up the coast to the north. With my normal wonderful timing, the bilge pump on my boat quit in the middle of all this! I keep it on a lift, but the huge weight of the water can bring the whole thing down in a heartbeat. Quick and dirty solution was a $50 sump pump from Ace Hardware until I can get the correct bilge pump replacement hopefully tomorrow. Would you consider making a house call to advise and supervise ?
    Hope your back is “pretty good” for a self-admitted old fart – did you sell your scooter and buy a beater yet?
    I’m currently having more trouble with my legs than my back. Circulation problems caused by smoking according to my Doc.
    Also hope your river behaves itself and stays where it’s supposed to be – in bed!
    Good luck!

  2. Alex

    I guess the river didn’t get to you, ahh, a little adventure! Enjoy Boquerón.

    The river was no problem. The rain was steady but light. The river hardly rose at all. What makes it rise alarmingly is when it rains hard and heavy back up in the mountains. Then it can rise six feet or so in a matter of minutes. It hasn’t rained worth squat for the last couple of days and the river is quite low. Water pressure right now is almost non-existent and whole families have been coming down to bathe in the river. That’s normal here. The water pressure and bathing in the river. People just roll with the flow, unlike back up in the States.